Contamination by microplastics (0.1 & mu;m-5 mm plastic fragments) is currently one of the major threats to the conser-vation of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Growing awareness on this issue has led to an increase in stud-ies on the effects of microplastics on freshwater organisms, although there are still few investigations on possible transfer of this contaminant along water trophic chains from producers to primary consumers. In this study, aquatic herbivorous larvae of the moth Cataclysta lemnata were fed on microplastic-free (control) and contaminated (MPs treatment) Lemna minuta fronds. For treatments, Lemna fronds were grown in mineral water enriched with fluorescent microparticles of poly(styrene-co-methyl methacrylate) (MPs, 100 mg/L) and then fed to the larvae as a food source. Microplastics effects on larvae were tested at 0, 7,14 and 21 days of exposure, corresponding to sensitive phases of the insect life cycle. Contaminant impact was assessed based on some parameters such as viability, larva body size/weight, feeding alterations and regularity of the insect life cycle. Using scanning electron and fluorescence microscopy, the presence of microplastics in the larvae was verified. The finding of fluorescent microplastics in both the intestinal lumen and excrement samples showed that larvae ingested contaminated Lemna fronds. In addition, larvae fed contam-inated fronds were strongly affected by the presence of microplastic contaminant over time, showing high mortality (90 %) and total inability to complete the life cycle after 21 days by failing to reach the winged adult phase. In control tests, survival rates were higher than in treatments, and 50 % of the larvae managed to pupate and emerge as moths, reaching the adult phase. The results show that there was atrophic transfer of microplastics from producer to primary consumer along a freshwater food chain, generating negative effects on the life cycle of this aquatic herbivore.
Mariani, F., Di Lernia, D., Venditti, I., Pelella, E., Muzzi, M., Di Giulio, A., et al. (2023). Trophic transfer of microplastics from producer (Lemna minuta) to primary consumer (Cataclysta lemnata) in a freshwater food chain. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 891(164459), 1-8 [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.164459].