Identification and toxicity towards aquatic primary producers of the smallest fractions released from hydrolytic degradation of polycaprolactone microplastics
EntityUAM. Departamento de Biología
10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.134966Chemosphere 303.1 (2022): 134966
SubjectsBioplastics; Cyanobacteria; Nanoplastics; Oligomers; PCL degradation; Toxicity; Biología y Biomedicina / Biología
Rights© 2022 Elsevier Ltd.
Esta obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.
Bioplastics are thought as a safe substitute of non-biodegradable polymers. However, once released in the environment, biodegradation may be very slow, and they also suffer abiotic fragmentation processes, which may give rise to different fractions of polymer sizes. We present novel data on abiotic hydrolytic degradation of polycaprolactone (PCL), tracking the presence of by-products during 132 days by combining different physicochemical techniques. During the study a considerable amount of two small size plastic fractions were found (up to ∼ 6 mg of PCL by-product/g of PCL beads after 132 days of degradation); and classified as submicron-plastics (sMPs) from 1 μm to 100 nm and nanoplastics (NPs, <100 nm) as well as oligomers. The potential toxicity of the smallest fractions, PCL by-products < 100 nm (PCL-NPs + PCL oligomers) and the PCL oligomers single fraction, was tested on two ecologically relevant aquatic primary producers: the heterocystous filamentous nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120, and the unicellular cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942. Upon exposure to both, single and combined fractions, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) overproduction, intracellular pH and metabolic activity alterations were observed in both organisms, whilst membrane potential and morphological damages were only observed upon PCL-NPs + PCL oligomers exposure. Notably both PCL by-products fractions inhibited nitrogen fixation in Anabaena, which may be clearly detrimental for the aquatic trophic chain. As conclusion, fragmentation of bioplastics may render a continuous production of secondary nanoplastics as well as oligomers that might be toxic to the surrounding biota; both PCL-NPs and PCL oligomers, but largely the nanoparticulate fraction, were harmful for the two aquatic primary producers. Efforts should be made to thoroughly understand the fragmentation of bioplastics and the toxicity of the smallest fractions resulting from that degradation
Google Scholar:Tamayo-Belda, Miguel - Pulido-Reyes, Gerardo - González Pleiter, Miguel - Martín-Betancor, Keila - Leganés Nieto, Francisco - Rosal, Roberto - Fernández Piñas, Francisca
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