Coping with synthetic and natural microparticles: brown shrimp and antioxidant defence

, Korez Špela, Gutow Lars, Saborowski Reinhard.

Broad applicability and industrial mass production established plastics in our everyday life. Due to careless use and poor recycling strategies, synthetic plastic material emerged to one of the greatest threats to the marine environment. In the environment, plastics are prone to disintegrate into microplastics. The wide size range make the microplastics available to different marine fauna, which may mistake them with food items. Apart from the synthetic microparticles, marine organisms are persistently surrounded in their habitat by various suspended organic microparticles (e.g. remains of bivalves, cellulose fibers, chitinous remains) and inorganic microparticles (e.g. silica frustules, sediment grains). Therefore, the goal of the present study was to investigate whether these natural particles may potentially harm organisms in the same way as synthetic particles. We determined the antioxidant defense response of brown shrimp, Crangon crangon, subjected to microparticles of different origin. The shrimp were exposed to 20 mg L-1 of natural (clay, diatoms) and synthetic (TiO2, PVC, PLA) microparticles for 6, 12, 24 and 48 h. After exposure, the shrimp were dissected and the midgut gland, also referred as to digestive gland, was withdrawn. The tissue was homogenized and processed for analysis of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and the total antioxidant potential. The results, so far, show no increase in the cellular stress response in the brown shrimp, irrespective of the origin of the chemical nature of the microparticle. These findings suggest that C. crangon may better cope with microplastic pollution then others marine organisms. Comparative experiments with crustaceans from other habitats or different feeding traits are required to better rate the potentially high stress resistance towards microplastic pollution in the brown shrimp.

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