Identification of microplastics in surface water and Australian freshwater shrimp Paratya australiensis in Victoria, Australia.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987) (2020-01-01)
Bingxu Nan, Lei Su, Claudette Kellar, Nicholas J Craig, Michael J Keough, Vincent Pettigrove

Compared to marine microplastics research, few studies have bio-monitored microplastics in inland waters. It is also important to understand the microplastics' uptake and their potential risks to freshwater species. The Australian glass shrimp Paratya australiensis (Family: Atyidae) is commonly found in fresh waterbodies in eastern Australia, and are sensitive to anthropogenic stressors but have a wide tolerance range to the natural environmental conditions. This study aimed to understand the microplastics' occurrence and types in water samples and the shrimp P. australiensis, and identify if the shrimp could be a suitable bioindicator for microplastic pollution. Surface water and P. australiensis across ten urban and rural freshwater sites in Victoria were sampled. In total, 30 water samples and 100 shrimp were analysed for microplastic content, and shrimp body weights and sizes were also recorded. Microplastics were picked, photographed and identified using FT-IR microscopy: in water samples, 57.9% of items including suspect items were selected to identify; all microplastics found in shrimp samples were identified. Microplastics were present in the surface waters of all sites, with an average abundance of 0.40 ± 0.27 items/L. A total of 36% of shrimp contained microplastics with an average of 0.52 ± 0.55 items/ind (24 ± 31 items/g). Fibre was the most common shape, and blue was the most frequent colour in both water and shrimp samples. The dominant plastic types were polyester in water samples, and rayon in shrimp samples. Even though results from this study show a relatively low concentration of microplastics in water samples in comparison with global studies, it is worth noticing that microplastics were regularly detected in fresh waterbodies in Victoria, Australia. Compared with water samples, shrimp contained a wider variety of plastic types, suggesting they may potentially behave as passive samplers of microplastics pollution in freshwater environments.

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MF-Millipore® Membrane Filter, 0.45 µm pore size, 47 mm diameter, mixed cellulose esters (MCE) membrane, hydrophilic, white, 100 discs
Nylon Net Filter, 20.0 um pore size, hydrophilic nylon membrane, 47 mm diameter