Microplastic (MP) are environmental pollutants and have the potential to cause varying degrees of aquatic toxicity. In this study, the effects on gut microbiota of adult male zebrafish exposed for 14 days to 100 and 1000 μg/L of two sizes of polystyrene MP were evaluated. Both 0.5 and 50 μm-diameter spherical polystyrene MP increased the volume of mucus in the gut at a concentration of 1000 μg/L (about 1.456 × 1010 particles/L for 0.5 μm and 1.456 × 104 particles/L for 50 μm). At the phylum level, the abundance of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria decreased significantly and the abundance of Firmicutes increased significantly in the gut after 14-day exposure to 1000 μg/L of both sizes of polystyrene MP. In addition, high throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene V3-V4 region revealed a significant change in the richness and diversity of microbiota in the gut of polystyrene MP-exposed zebrafish. A more in depth analysis, at the genus level, revealed that a total of 29 gut microbes identified by operational taxonomic unit (OTU) analysis were significantly changed in both 0.5 and 50 μm-diameter polystyrene MP-treated groups. Moreover, it was observed that 0.5 μm polystyrene MP not only increased mRNA levels of IL1α, IL1β and IFN but also their protein levels in the gut, indicating that inflammation occurred after polystyrene MP exposure. Our findings suggest that polystyrene MP could induce microbiota dysbiosis and inflammation in the gut of adult zebrafish.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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