Microplastic Pollution and Impact on Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Ecotoxicology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 October 2024 | Viewed by 2591

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Milan, 20122 Milan, Italy
Interests: ecotoxicology; biomarkers; environmental pollution; emerging contaminants
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Milan, Via Celoria 26, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: emerging contaminants; environmental monitoring and negative effects on organisms; investigation of the possible microplastic's presence in different matrices such as surface water, glacial debris and snow

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The presence of microplastics in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is an environmental issue of global concern. Once microplastics enter the environment, whether directly or after weathering of large plastic items, they can interact with organisms and other contaminants, potentially posing a serious health risk for living species at all the levels of the ecological hierarchy. For these reasons, there is an urgent need to enlarge the knowledge on microplastic contamination in the environment in order to estimate and assess the exposure and the toxicity of these contaminants towards aquatic and terrestrial organisms. 

This Special Issue will focus on highlighting the latest advances in studies on microplastic contamination and their impact on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the investigation of the presence, the sources and the fate of microplastics in anthropic and natural ecosystems, including remote areas; the biomonitoring of microplastics using conventional and non-conventional model organisms; field and laboratory studies assessing the impact and/or the toxicity of virgin and/or weathered microplastics relying on both conventional and non-conventional model organisms; and the investigation of mechanism(s) of toxic action of microplastics towards aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Authors are invited to submit original research papers, reviews, and short communications. 

Dr. Marco Parolini
Dr. Beatrice De Felice
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • microplastics
  • (bio)monitoring
  • ecological indicators
  • freshwaters
  • marine ecosystems
  • terrestrial ecosystems
  • bioaccumulation
  • ecotoxicity

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 2891 KiB  
Article
Microplastics and 17α Ethinylestradiol: How Do Different Aquatic Invertebrates Respond to This Combination of Contaminants?
by Caio Rodrigues Nobre, Beatriz Barbosa Moreno, Aline Vecchio Alves, Mayana Karoline Fontes, Bruno Galvão de Campos, Leticia Fernanda da Silva, Luciane Alves Maranho, Luís Felipe de Almeida Duarte, Denis Moledo de Souza Abessa, Rodrigo Brasil Choueri, Paloma Kachel Gusso-Choueri and Camilo Dias Seabra Pereira
Toxics 2024, 12(5), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics12050319 - 28 Apr 2024
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Abstract
The synthetic hormone 17α ethinyl estradiol (EE2) is a molecule widely used in female contraceptives and recognized as a contaminant of attention (Watch List) in the European Union due to its high consumption, endocrine effects and occurrence in aquatic environments. Its main source [...] Read more.
The synthetic hormone 17α ethinyl estradiol (EE2) is a molecule widely used in female contraceptives and recognized as a contaminant of attention (Watch List) in the European Union due to its high consumption, endocrine effects and occurrence in aquatic environments. Its main source of introduction is domestic sewage where it can be associated with other contaminants such as microplastics (MPs). Due to their characteristics, they can combine with each other and exacerbate their isolated effects on biota. This study evaluated the combined effects of microplastics (MPs) and 17α ethinylestradiol (EE2) on two tropical estuarine invertebrate species: Crassostrea gasar and Ucides cordatus. Polyethylene particles were spiked with EE2 and organisms were exposed to three treatments, categorized into three groups: control group (C), virgin microplastics (MPs), and spiked microplastics with EE2 (MPEs). All treatments were evaluated after 3 and 7 days of exposure. Oysters exhibited changes in phase 2 enzymes and the antioxidant system, oxidative stress in the gills, and reduced lysosomal membrane stability after exposure to MPs and MPEs. Crabs exposed to MPs and MPEs after seven days showed changes in phase 1 enzymes in the gills and changes in phases 1 and 2 enzymes in the hepatopancreas, such as disturbed cellular health. The combined effects of microplastics and EE2 increased the toxicity experienced by organisms, which may trigger effects at higher levels of biological organization, leading to ecological disturbances in tropical coastal ecosystems. Full article
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15 pages, 2173 KiB  
Article
Exposure to Microplastics Made of Plasmix-Based Materials at Low Amounts Did Not Induce Adverse Effects on the Earthworm Eisenia foetida
by Beatrice De Felice, Stefano Gazzotti, Maddalena Roncoli, Eleonora Conterosito, Valentina Gianotti, Marco Aldo Ortenzi and Marco Parolini
Toxics 2024, 12(4), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics12040300 - 18 Apr 2024
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Abstract
The implementation of recycling techniques represents a potential solution to the plastic pollution issue. To date, only a limited number of plastic polymers can be efficiently recycled. In the Italian plastic waste stream, the residual, non-homogeneous fraction is called ‘Plasmix’ and is intended [...] Read more.
The implementation of recycling techniques represents a potential solution to the plastic pollution issue. To date, only a limited number of plastic polymers can be efficiently recycled. In the Italian plastic waste stream, the residual, non-homogeneous fraction is called ‘Plasmix’ and is intended for low-value uses. However, Plasmix can be used to create new materials through mechanical recycling, which need to be tested for their eco-safety. This study aimed to investigate the potential toxicity of two amounts (0.1% and 1% MPs in soil weight) of microplastics (MPs) made of naïve and additivated Plasmix-based materials (Px and APx, respectively) on the earthworm Eisenia foetida. Changes in oxidative status and oxidative damage, survival, gross growth rate and reproductive output were considered as endpoints. Although earthworms ingested both MP types, earthworms did not suffer an oxidative stress condition or growth and reproductive impairments. The results suggested that exposure to low amounts of both MPs can be considered as safe for earthworms. However, further studies testing a higher amount or longer exposure time on different model species are necessary to complete the environmental risk assessment of these new materials. Full article
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Review

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22 pages, 2261 KiB  
Review
Potential Effects of Environmental and Occupational Exposure to Microplastics: An Overview of Air Contamination
by Priscilla Boccia, Simona Mondellini, Simona Mauro, Miriam Zanellato, Marco Parolini and Elena Sturchio
Toxics 2024, 12(5), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics12050320 - 28 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Microplastics (MPs) are now ubiquitous environmental contaminants that lead to unavoidable human exposure; they have received increasing attention in recent years and have become an emerging area of research. The greatest concern is the negative impacts of MPs on marine, fresh-water, and terrestrial [...] Read more.
Microplastics (MPs) are now ubiquitous environmental contaminants that lead to unavoidable human exposure; they have received increasing attention in recent years and have become an emerging area of research. The greatest concern is the negative impacts of MPs on marine, fresh-water, and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as human health, to the extent that the World Health Organization (WHO) calls for increased research and standardized methods to assess exposure to MPs. Many countries and international organizations are implementing or proposing legislation in this regard. This review aims to summarize the current state of legislation, indoor and outdoor contamination, and potential human health risk due to exposure to airborne MPs, considering that occupational exposure to MPs is also becoming a growing area of concern. Even though research regarding MPs has continuously increased in the last twenty years, the effects of MPs on human health have been scarcely investigated, and toxicity studies are still limited and not directly comparable, due to the lack of standardized studies in this field. Full article
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