The release of nanoplastics (NPs) from the weathering and degradation of plastics in the environment is an important concern to aquatic ecosystems. The purpose of this study was to examine the bioavailability and toxicity of 50 and 100 nm fluorescently labeled polystyrene nanoplastics (NP) to the invertebrate Hydra attenuata. The hydrae were exposed to increasing concentrations of 50 and 100 nm NPs (1.25-80 mg/L) for 96 h at 20°C. A subgroup of hydra was depurated in media to determine the persistence of effects. The results revealed that the animals accumulated detectable amounts fluorescent NP and produced morphological changes at a threshold concentration between 5 and 10 mg/L. The hydrae were able to eliminate 76 and 78% of the 50 and 100 nm NPs, respectively. A characteristic tentacle detachment from the body was observed. Biochemical markers were also determined in exposed organisms and increased glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity, oxidative damage and neutral lipids levels that persisted after the 24 h. In conclusion, NPs are bioavailable to Hydra, produce morphological changes and increase oxidative stress and neutral lipids. The formation of neutral lipids could be the result of reduced food assimilation or a means for the elimination of NPs.
Part of the book: Emerging Technologies, Environment and Research for Sustainable Aquaculture