Physiological effects of plastic particles on mussels are mediated by food presence

Shixiu Wang, Zhen Zhong, Zhuoqing Li, Xinghuo Wang, Huaxin Gu, Wei Huang, James Kar Hei Fang, Huahong Shi, Menghong Hu, Youji Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Plastic particles cause toxic effects on marine organisms but whether food particles can affect the toxic effects of plastic particles on filter feeding animals remains unknown. To evaluate the intake and physiological effects of different size particles and their exposure ways, the thick shell mussels Mytilus coruscus were exposed to polystyrene (PS) nanoplastics (NPs, 70 nm) and microplastics (MPs, 10 µm) respectively for two weeks by mixing NPs/MPs with microalgae or exposed to MNPs individually after feeding. Intake of particles and their physiological effects including energy budget, digestive enzymes and oxidative responses were assessed after exposure. Results indicated food presence mediate the effects while MPs decrease the energy budget and increase the catalase activity and malondialdehyde levels. Moreover, exposure way significantly affected energy budget and size of particle had a significant impact on enzyme activities. Our results showed MPs induce more significant effects than NPs on mussels, emphasized the importance of particle exposure way and suggested that mixture exposure with microalgae alleviate the influences on mussels caused by plastic particles alone. This study emphasized that we need to take the food particles into account for evaluating the toxic effects of plastic particles on filter feeding animals in the natural environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124136
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2021


  • Food particles
  • Mixture exposure
  • Mussel
  • Nano/microplastics
  • Physiological effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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