Pearl farming micro-nanoplastics affect both oyster physiology and pearl quality

Type Article
Acceptance Date 2023-07-06 IN PRESS
Language English
Author(s) Gardon Tony1, Le Luyer JeremyORCID2, Le Moullac GillesORCID3, Soyez Claude1, Lagarde Fabienne4, Dehaut Alexandre5, Paul-Pont Ika6, Huvet ArnaudORCID7
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ifremer, france
2 : Université Laval, canada
3 : French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, france
4 : Univ le mans, france
5 : ANSES, france
6 : CNRS, France
7 : Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer, france
Source Research Square. (Research Square Platform LLC) In Press
DOI 10.21203/
Note This is a preprint ; it has not been peer reviewed by a journal

The widespread contamination of pearl farming lagoons in French Polynesia by microplastics has led to questions about risks for the pearl industry. The aim of this study was to test the effects of micro-nanoplastics (MNPs) on the pearl oyster (Pinctada margaritifera) over a 5-month pearl production cycle. MNPs were produced from plastic pearl farming gear and used at a concentration that oysters may encounter in lagoons. MNP exposure led to the alteration of energy metabolism, mostly driven by a lower assimilation efficiency of microalgae, with modulation of gene expression patterns. Pearl biomineralization was impacted by thinner aragonite crystals, with harvest marked by the presence of abnormal biomineral concretions, called keshi pearls. These experimental results demonstrated that MNPs threaten pearl oyster biology, with potential detrimental effects on pearl quality. Ecological approaches are now required to test the holistic impact of MNPs on population sustainability in the Polynesian pearl industry.

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