The effects of nanoplastics on marine plankton: A case study with polymethylmethacrylate


Marine biota is currently exposed to plastic pollution. The biological effects of plastics may vary according to polymer types (e.g. polystyrene, polyethylene, acrylate), size of particles (macro, micro or nanoparticles) and their shape. There is a considerable lack of knowledge in terms of effects of nanoplastics (NP) to marine biota particularly of polymers like polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). Thus, this study aimed to assess its ecotoxicological effects using a battery of standard monospecific bioassays with four marine microalgae (Tetraselmis chuii, Nannochloropsis gaditana, Isochrysis galbana and Thalassiosira weissflogii) and a marine rotifer species (Brachionus plicatilis). The tested PMMA-NP concentrations allowed the estimation of median effect concentrations for all microalgae species. T. weissfiogii and T. chuii were respectively the most sensitive (EC50,96h of 83.75 mg/L) and least sensitive species (EC50,96h of 132.52 mg/L). The PMMA-NP were also able to induce mortality in rotifers at concentrations higher than 4.69 mg/L with an estimated 48 h median lethal concentration of 13.27 mg/L. A species sensitivity distribution curve (SSD), constructed based on data available in the literature and the data obtained in this study, reveal that PMMA-NP appears as less harmful to marine biota than other polymers like polystyrene.



subject category

Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Toxicology


Venancio, C; Ferreira, I; Martins, MA; Soares, AMVM; Lopes, I; Oliveira, M



Thanks are due for the financial support to CESAM (UID/AMB/50017/2019), to FCT/MCTES through national funds. MO had financial support of the program Investigador FCT (IF/00335-2015), co-funded by the Human Potential Operational Programme and European Social Fund. CV had financial support of the FCT project SALTFREE II (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031022).

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