Mussels are beginning to lose grip when exposed to microplastics, the last example of the harmful effects of plastic pollution on marine life is the study.
When blue bivalve molluscs were exposed to biodegradable microplastics within 52 days, they lost about half their abilities to adhere to surfaces. The weakening of their attachment seems to result in the production of much less threaded yarns, thin fibers produced by mussels, which allow them to be attached to stones, ropes and other underwater environments.
A study conducted at the Portaferry Marine Laboratory in Northern Ireland and reported in the Environmental Pollution magazine is one of the first studies on the impact of microplastics on marine organisms.
Microplastics have been found around the world in a variety of environments, from tap water and sea water to flying insects, and possibly even to the air we breathe. Last year, the study first revealed microplastics in human stool.
Some of them are deliberately made microplastics, such as microwaves in cosmetics, but most are the result of larger plastic waste. There are a large number of microplastics sources – for example, synthetic clothing can wash small fibers that make it difficult to remove.
If the bivalve molluscs lose their grip both in the wild and in the research, the consequences will be felt beyond the mollusc population. Scallops stick together and form reefs that help them multiply and keep countless other marine animals and plants that play an important role in the marine ecosystem.
Dannielle Green, Senior Lecturer in Biology at Ruskin University, England, who led the research, said: "Perseverance is essential for mussels to build and maintain reefs without replacing them with hydrodynamic forces. Reducing the agricultural thread in the wild could lead to a gradual impact on biodiversity, as well as a reduction in aquaculture yields, as mussels are likely to be washed by waves or strong floods. ”
Microplastics also appear to cause a strong immune response to molluscs and affect the metabolism discovered by researchers. They measure the vertical force needed to remove the snails from its attached position, and found that for those exposed to biodegradable microplastic materials within 52 days, the required force was only half of the need in the control sample without such exposure. There were also consequences of exposure to biodegradable plastic, but they were less pronounced.