Microplastics (MPs) are well-known emerging contaminants in the marine environment. A key route by which MPs can directly affect marine life is through ingestion. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the occurrence of MPs in marine life and seafood for human consumption in the Persian Gulf. We conducted a whole body analysis of MP (between 10 and 5000 μm in diameter) abundance in five species of molluscs with different feeding strategies, including both gastropods and bivalves from the littoral zone of the Iranian coast of the Persian Gulf. The mean number of total encountered MPs in all species ranged from 0.2 to 21.0 particles per g of soft tissue (wet weight) and from 3.7 to 17.7 particles per individual. Overall, microfibres followed by fragments were the most common type of MP isolated in each species (respectively > 50% and ≈26%). Film (≈14%) and pellets (≈2%) were less commonly observed. The observed MPs were classified into three size groups (ca. 10–25 μm, 25–250 μm and 250–5000 μm), and 37–58% of MPs fell into the smallest size group. Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) analysis confirmed the presence of polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and nylon (PA). Our results indicated that molluscan shellfish from the Persian Gulf contain MPs, with higher concentrations in a predatory species, suggesting trophic transfer of MPs in the food web. The consumption of edible species may be a source of human microplastic intake. We compared our results with those previously reported for other regions of the world and identified the need for further studies in the Persian Gulf.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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