Microplastic occurrence and phthalate ester levels in neuston samples and skin biopsies of filter-feeding megafauna from La Paz Bay (Mexico)

Marine Pollution Bulletin

Volume: 192 Pages: 1150806 ISSN: 0025-326X Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2023.115086

Authors: Matteo Galli, Tabata Olavarrieta Garcia, Matteo Baini, Jorge Urbán R, Deni Ramírez-Macías, Lorena Viloria-Gómora, Cristina Panti, Tania Martellini, Alessandra Cincinelli, Maria Cristina Fossi

Abstract: The impacts of microplastics on filter feeders megafauna have recently received increased attention. These organisms are potentially exposed to plastic ingestion and the release of added/sorbed contaminants during feeding activities. An assessment of microplastic abundance and the chemical impact of Phthalates esters (PAEs) were performed in neustonic samples and skin biopsies of Balaenoptera physalus and Rhincodon typus inhabiting the Gulf of California (Mexico). Sixty-eight percent of the net tows contained plastics with a maximum of 0.24 items/m3 mainly composed of polyethylene fragments. PAE levels were detected both in environmental and skin biopsy samples, with the highest values in the fin whale specimens (5291 ng/g d.w). Plasticizer fingerprint showed a similar distribution pattern between neustonic samples and filter-feeding species, with DEHP and MBP having the highest concentrations. The detection of PAE levels confirmed their potential role as plastic tracers and give preliminary information about the toxicological status of these species feeding in La Paz Bay.