This study analysed the anthropogenic microparticles in the stomach content of the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) in the Ligurian Sea (NW Mediterranean). The results showed that 30-40% of the anchovies had ingested anthropogenic microparticles (on average, 0.34±0.29 fibres ind-1 and 0.12±0.12 fragments ind-1). The fibres were probably ingested via filtration, and were significantly correlated with the gut fullness. Fibres were mostly dark, but the presence of other colours was frequent, indicating a general lack of selectivity. Plastic fragments composed of polyethylene and polypropylene, were prevalently transparent, suggesting active predation, especially for larger fragments resembling zooplankton. No significant differences were recorded for the frequency of fish containing particles among females, males and undetermined individuals. The presence of, generally, only one anthropogenic item per fish, as observed for 95.8% of fish containing microparticles, indicated that the permanence of these particles in the stomachs was short, likely no more than one day, although it could also depend on low environmental concentrations. The evaluation of the intestinal lumen indicated that a portion of the plastic fragments found in the stomach could not be ejected. Hard fragments that were larger than the intestinal lumen could be held for longer times, but probably regurgitation, fragmentation and embedding in a biological matrix may facilitate their quick elimination. It is pivotal to understand the processes that regulate the abundance and the residential time of anthropogenic particles in commercial organisms captured for human nutrition, given the potential biomagnification of toxic substances carried by ingested particles.

Ingestion and elimination of anthropogenic fibres and microplastic fragments by the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) of the NW Mediterranean Sea

Capone, Alessandro;Petrillo, Mario;Misic, Cristina
2020

Abstract

This study analysed the anthropogenic microparticles in the stomach content of the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) in the Ligurian Sea (NW Mediterranean). The results showed that 30-40% of the anchovies had ingested anthropogenic microparticles (on average, 0.34±0.29 fibres ind-1 and 0.12±0.12 fragments ind-1). The fibres were probably ingested via filtration, and were significantly correlated with the gut fullness. Fibres were mostly dark, but the presence of other colours was frequent, indicating a general lack of selectivity. Plastic fragments composed of polyethylene and polypropylene, were prevalently transparent, suggesting active predation, especially for larger fragments resembling zooplankton. No significant differences were recorded for the frequency of fish containing particles among females, males and undetermined individuals. The presence of, generally, only one anthropogenic item per fish, as observed for 95.8% of fish containing microparticles, indicated that the permanence of these particles in the stomachs was short, likely no more than one day, although it could also depend on low environmental concentrations. The evaluation of the intestinal lumen indicated that a portion of the plastic fragments found in the stomach could not be ejected. Hard fragments that were larger than the intestinal lumen could be held for longer times, but probably regurgitation, fragmentation and embedding in a biological matrix may facilitate their quick elimination. It is pivotal to understand the processes that regulate the abundance and the residential time of anthropogenic particles in commercial organisms captured for human nutrition, given the potential biomagnification of toxic substances carried by ingested particles.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1025724
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