Transgenerational effects and recovery of microplastics exposure in model populations of the freshwater cladoceran Daphnia magna Straus.
Sci Total Environ. 2018 Aug 1 ;631-632:421-428. Epub 2018 Mar 16. PMID: 29529430
The environmental contamination by microplastics is a global challenge to ecosystem and human health, and the knowledge on the long-term effects of such particles is limited. Thus, the effects of microplastics and post-exposure recovery were investigated over 4 generations (F, F, F, F) using Daphnia magna as model. Effect criteria were parental mortality, growth, several reproductive parameters, and population growth rate. Microplastics exposure (0.1mg/l of pristine polymer microspheres 1-5μm diameter) caused parental mortality (10-100%), and significantly (p≤0.05) decreased growth, reproduction, and population growth rate leading to the extinction of the microplastics-exposed model population in the Fgeneration. Females descending from those exposed to microplastics in Fand exposed to clean medium presented some recovery but up to the Fgeneration they still had significantly (p≤0.05) reduced growth, reproduction, and population growth rate. Overall, these results indicate that D. magna recovery from chronic exposure to microplastics may take several generations, and that the continuous exposure over generations to microplastics may cause population extinction. These findings have implications to aquatic ecosystem functioning and services, and raise concern on the long-term animal and human exposure to microplastics through diverse routes.