microplastics

DMS Kayla Mladinich shows that bivalves can reject microplastics

8 November 2022. DMS is happy to share the latest publication by PhD student Kayla Mladinich, showing the surprising but good news that blue mussels and oysters appear not to ingest all microplastic particles floating in the water.

By Kayla Mladinich.

Oysters and mussels are filter feeders that draw particles in from the surrounding water to be eaten. These animals can select which particles are eaten or rejected depending on factors such as particle size and surface properties. This study was performed to determine what kinds of microplastics will be consumed or rejected by oysters and mussels. Both species rejected larger microplastics more than smaller microplastics and did not differentiate between different types of plastic polymers. The results suggest that oysters and mussels will not ingest all microplastics that they are exposed to in the natural environment!



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Kayla changing water and replenishing food for the animals.

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An oyster being exposed to microplastics in the laboratory. Microplastics are gently pipetted over the inhalant aperture (where oysters draw particles in) which allows the oysters to choose between drawing the particles in or not (Photo: Kayla Mladinich).

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Mladinich et al. ES&T (2022) Graphical abstract