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Polymer aging affects the bioavailability of microplastics-associated contaminants in sea urchin embryos

  • Autori: Marilena Vita Di Natale; Sabrina Carola Carroccio; SandroDattilo; Mariacristina Cocca; Aldo Nicosia; Marco Torri; Carmelo Daniele Bennici; Marianna Musco; Tiziana Masullo; Stefania Russo; Antonio Mazzola; AngelaCuttitta
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Microplastics (MPs) in the marine environment undergo complex weathering factors that can affect their ability to interact with different coexisting environmental contaminants (termed here co-contaminants). In this study, the influence of artificially aging using UV on the sorption of a complex mixture of co-contaminants onto MPs was investigated in order to provide meaningful hypotheses on their individual and combined toxicities on sea urchin embryos. A mixture of artificially aged MPs (PS particles and PA microfibers) combined with 2,2′ ,4,4′ - tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47), or Cd or Cu, both alone and in a mix, were used to expose embryos of Paracentrotus lividus. The effects of polymer aging on co-contaminants bioavailability were assessed by measuring changes in the transcriptional profile of genes involved in oxidative-stress response and skeletogenic and endomesodermal specification. Changes in the sorption ability of MPs to co-contaminants in the aqueous phase highlighted that aging did not affect the sorption of BDE-47 and Cd on MPs, although a certain influence on Cu sorption was found. Despite no morphological effects in embryos at the gastrula stage after MPs/contaminants combinatorial exposure emerged, the greatest influence of the aging process was mainly found for combined exposures which included BDE-47. Finally, the exposure to multiple contaminants generated transcriptional profiles poorly related to those activated by single contaminant, at times suggesting a mixture-dependent different aging influence. These results open new scenarios on the controversial role of vector of co- contaminants for MPs, especially when complex and different types of mixtures were considered.