Nanoplastics impaired oyster free living stages, gametes and embryos

In the marine environment, most bivalve species base their reproduction on external fertilization. Hence, gametes and young stages face many threats, including exposure to plastic wastes which represent more than 80% of the debris in the oceans. Recently, evidence has been produced on the presence of nanoplastics in oceans, thus motivating new studies of their impacts on marine life. Because no information is available about their environmental concentrations, we performed dose-response exposure experiments with polystyrene particles to assess the extent of micro/nanoplastic toxicity. Effects of polystyrene with different sizes and functionalization (plain 2-μm, 500-nm and 50-nm; COOH-50 nm and NH2-50 nm) were assessed on three key reproductive steps (fertilization, embryogenesis and metamorphosis) of Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas). Nanoplastics induced a significant decrease in fertilization success and in embryo-larval development with numerous malformations up to total developmental arrest. The NH2-50 beads had the strongest toxicity to both gametes (EC50 = 4.9 μg/mL) and embryos (EC50 = 0.15 μg/mL), showing functionalization-dependent toxicity. No effects of plain microplastics were recorded. These results highlight that exposures to nanoplastics may have deleterious effects on planktonic stages of oysters, presumably interacting with biological membranes and causing cyto/genotoxicity with potentially drastic consequences for their reproductive success.


Oyster, Embryos, Gametes, Microplastics, Nanoplastics

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Tallec Kevin, Huvet Arnaud, Di poi Carole, Gonzalez-Fernandez Carmen, Lambert Christophe, Petton Bruno, Le Goic Nelly, Berchel Mathieu, Soudant Philippe, Paul-Pont Ika (2018). Nanoplastics impaired oyster free living stages, gametes and embryos. Environmental Pollution. 242 (Part B). 1226-1235.,

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