MAY 27, 2021 7:51 AM PDT

How do nanoplastics affect oysters?

New research published in the journal Chemosphere considers the adverse effects on oysters resulting from the combination of nanoplastics and arsenic. Conducted as part of a collaboration between the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) in Québec City and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University of Bordeaux in France, the study reports on the ways that the bioaccumulation of materials impact the biological functions of oysters.

"Oysters easily accumulate metals from the environment into their tissues. We therefore wanted to test whether the combined exposure to nanoplastics and arsenic would increase the bioaccumulation of this contaminant," explained researcher Marc Lebordais, noting that arsenic, is one of the most common metals found in nanoplastics on the beaches of Guadeloupe. 

While their analyses showed that, in fact, the presence of nanoplastics does not increase the bioaccumulation of arsenic, the team did see a marked difference among oyster species: they found that arsenic levels were higher in the gills of the Canadian Crassostrea virginica oyster than in the Guadeloupian Isognomon alatus oyster. Why would this be? The researchers are still trying to figure that out, but they point to an overexpression of genes responsible for cell death in C. virginica not seen in I. alatus.

"Evaluating the expression of genes involved in important functions, such as cell death and detoxification, gives us information on the toxicity of nanoplastics and arsenic on a cellular level," explained Lebordais, who worked under Professors Valérie Langlois of INRS and Magalie Baudrimont of the University of Bordeaux.

The research team plans to continue their investigations in order to explore how contaminants are transferred through the food chain. "Analytical tools are currently being developed to quantify the presence of nanoplastics in biological tissues. Understanding the amount of nanoplastics in farmed oysters currently boils down to a technical issue," concludes Lebordais.

Sources: Chemosphere, Eureka Alert

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
APR 26, 2021
Microbiology
Ocean Bacteria Can Add Carbon to the Atmosphere
APR 26, 2021
Ocean Bacteria Can Add Carbon to the Atmosphere
Scientists are noting that rock-dissolving microbes in the ocean may be contributing to climate change and should be tak ...
MAY 30, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Unpacking the systemic oppression of pipelines
MAY 30, 2021
Unpacking the systemic oppression of pipelines
New research published in Geohealth from a team of North Carolina State University researchers reports that counties wit ...
JUN 02, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Revisiting the Sahara's enigmatic past
JUN 02, 2021
Revisiting the Sahara's enigmatic past
As hard as it is to imagine, the rolling dunes that we picture now when we think of the Sahara used to be quite differen ...
JUN 15, 2021
Earth & The Environment
More precise climate forecasts could save millions of dollars
JUN 15, 2021
More precise climate forecasts could save millions of dollars
A novel approach to predicting global climate forecasts has been described in the journals Earth System Science Dat ...
JUN 18, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Taking Earth's pulse: cyclic patterns of geologic activity every 27.5-million-years
JUN 18, 2021
Taking Earth's pulse: cyclic patterns of geologic activity every 27.5-million-years
New research published in the journal Geoscience Frontiers highlights the cyclic patterns of geologic activity on Earth. ...
JUL 21, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Researchers Detect DNA in Air Samples
JUL 21, 2021
Researchers Detect DNA in Air Samples
Scientists have shown that it's possible to assess what organisms might be living in a particular habitat by collecting ...
Loading Comments...