Mesocosm trials reveal the potential toxic risk of degrading bioplastics to marine life
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/4246
EDITED VERSION: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0025326X22003551
UNESCO SUBJECT: 2510.01 Oceanografía Biológica ; 3308.06 Regeneración del Agua ; 3308.11 Control de la Contaminación del Agua
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
If biodegradable plastics tackle the marine plastic pollution problem sufficiently remains questionable. To gain more insight in degradability, performance, and the impact of degradation on the toxicity, commercial bags made from two biodegradable plastics and one conventional plastic (PE) were exposed for 120 days in a mesocosm featuring benthic, pelagic, and littoral habitat simulations. Degradability was assessed as weight loss, and specimens were tested for toxicity using Paracentrotus lividus sea-urchin larvae after different exposure times. Both biodegradable bags showed degradation within 120 days, with the littoral simulation showing the highest and the pelagic simulation the lowest decay. Disregarding habitat, the home-compostable plastic showed higher marine degradation than the industrial-compostable material. The relevant initial toxicity of both biopolymers was lost within 7 days of exposure, pointing towards easily leachable chemical additives as its cause. Interestingly, littoral exposed specimens gained toxicity after 120 days, suggesting UV- induced modifications that increase biopolymer toxicity.
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