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Microplastics in fish and fishmeal: an emerging environmental challenge?

Microplastics in fish and fishmeal: an emerging environmental challenge?
Microplastics in fish and fishmeal: an emerging environmental challenge?
Microplastics are contaminants of emerging concern; they are ingested by marine biota. About a quarter of global marine fish landings is used to produce fishmeal for animal and aquaculture feed. To provide a knowledge foundation for this matrix we reviewed the existing literature for studies of microplastics in fishmeal-relevant species. 55% of studies were deemed unsuitable due to focus on large microplastics (> 1 mm), lack of, or limited contamination control and polymer testing techniques. Overall, fishmeal-relevant species exhibit 0.72 microplastics/individual, with studies generally only assessing digestive organs. We validated a density separation method for effectiveness of microplastic extraction from this medium and assessed two commercial products for microplastics. Recovery rates of a range of dosed microplastics from whitefish fishmeal samples were 71.3±1.2%. Commercial samples contained 123.9±16.5 microplastics per kg of fishmeal —mainly polyethylene— including 52.0±14.0 microfibres—mainly rayon. Concentrations in processed fishmeal seem higher than in captured fish, suggesting potential augmentation during the production process. Based on conservative estimates, over 300 million microplastic particles (mostly < 1 mm) could be released annually to the oceans through marine aquaculture alone. Fishmeal is both a source of microplastics to the environment, and directly exposes organisms for human consumption to these particles.
2045-2322
Thiele, Christina Johanna
7119e77e-cc82-4ccc-b675-162aa8109491
Hudson, Malcolm
1ae18506-6f2a-48af-8c72-83ab28679f55
Russell, Andrea E.
b6b7c748-efc1-4d5d-8a7a-8e4b69396169
Saluveer, Marilin
9b0eab0e-5d42-4e32-9723-96a53f949e8e
Sidaoui-Haddad, Giovanna
dcff5597-bb5c-40da-b1c4-99b2ee62daff
Thiele, Christina Johanna
7119e77e-cc82-4ccc-b675-162aa8109491
Hudson, Malcolm
1ae18506-6f2a-48af-8c72-83ab28679f55
Russell, Andrea E.
b6b7c748-efc1-4d5d-8a7a-8e4b69396169
Saluveer, Marilin
9b0eab0e-5d42-4e32-9723-96a53f949e8e
Sidaoui-Haddad, Giovanna
dcff5597-bb5c-40da-b1c4-99b2ee62daff

Thiele, Christina Johanna, Hudson, Malcolm, Russell, Andrea E., Saluveer, Marilin and Sidaoui-Haddad, Giovanna (2021) Microplastics in fish and fishmeal: an emerging environmental challenge? Scientific Reports, 11 (1), [2045]. (doi:10.1038/s41598-021-81499-8).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Microplastics are contaminants of emerging concern; they are ingested by marine biota. About a quarter of global marine fish landings is used to produce fishmeal for animal and aquaculture feed. To provide a knowledge foundation for this matrix we reviewed the existing literature for studies of microplastics in fishmeal-relevant species. 55% of studies were deemed unsuitable due to focus on large microplastics (> 1 mm), lack of, or limited contamination control and polymer testing techniques. Overall, fishmeal-relevant species exhibit 0.72 microplastics/individual, with studies generally only assessing digestive organs. We validated a density separation method for effectiveness of microplastic extraction from this medium and assessed two commercial products for microplastics. Recovery rates of a range of dosed microplastics from whitefish fishmeal samples were 71.3±1.2%. Commercial samples contained 123.9±16.5 microplastics per kg of fishmeal —mainly polyethylene— including 52.0±14.0 microfibres—mainly rayon. Concentrations in processed fishmeal seem higher than in captured fish, suggesting potential augmentation during the production process. Based on conservative estimates, over 300 million microplastic particles (mostly < 1 mm) could be released annually to the oceans through marine aquaculture alone. Fishmeal is both a source of microplastics to the environment, and directly exposes organisms for human consumption to these particles.

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Accepted/In Press date: 7 January 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 21 January 2021
Published date: 21 January 2021

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 446119
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/446119
ISSN: 2045-2322
PURE UUID: 155892b9-23ed-41dd-bc70-ebc6bc820a28
ORCID for Christina Johanna Thiele: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3160-1189
ORCID for Andrea E. Russell: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8382-6443

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 Jan 2021 17:31
Last modified: 22 Nov 2021 02:42

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Contributors

Author: Malcolm Hudson
Author: Marilin Saluveer
Author: Giovanna Sidaoui-Haddad

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