Acta Vet. Brno 2021, 90: 99-107

Microplastics as a potential risk for aquatic environment organisms – a review

Aneta Hollerová1,2, Nikola Hodkovicová2, Jana Blahová1, Martin Faldyna2, Petr Maršálek1, Zdeňka Svobodová1

1University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, Department of Animal Protection and Welfare and Veterinary Public Health, Brno, Czech Republic
2Veterinary Research Institute, Department of Infectious Disease and Preventive Medicine, Brno, Czech Republic

Received September 30, 2020
Accepted February 24, 2021


1. Abdel-Khalek AA, Badran SR, Marie MA 2016: Toxicity evaluation of copper oxide bulk and nanoparticles in Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, using hematological, bioaccumulation and histological biomarkers. Fish Physiol Biochem 42: 1225-1236 <>
2. Alomar C, Deudero S 2017: Evidence of microplastic ingestion in the shark Galeus melastomus Rafinesque, 1810 in the continental shelf off the western Mediterranean Sea. Environ Pollut 223: 223-229 <>
3. Andrady AL 1998: The plastic in microplastics: A review. Mar Pollut Bull 119: 12-22 <>
4. Andrady AL, Neal MA 2009: Applications and societal benefits of plastics. Philos Trans R Soc B-Biol Sci 364: 2153-2166 <>
5. Auta HS, Emenike C, Fauziah S 2017: Distribution and importance of microplastics in the marine environment: A review of the sources, fate, effects, and potential solutions. Environ Int 102: 165-176 <>
6. Banaee M, Nemadoost Haghi B, Tahery S, Shahafve S, Vaziriyan M 2016: Iran J Toxicol 10: 1-5
7. Barnes DKA 2002: Invasions by marine life on plastic debris. Nature 416: 808-809 <>
8. Bouwmeester H, Hollman PC, Peters RJ 2015: Potential health impact of environmentally released micro- and nanoplastics in the human food production chain: experiences from nanotoxicology. Environ Sci Technol 49: 8932-8947 <>
9. Browne MA, Dissanayake A, Galloway TS, Lowe DM, Thompson RC 2008: Ingested microscopic plastic translocates to the circulatory system of mussel, Mytilus edulis (L). Environ Sci Technol 42: 5026-5031 <>
10. Browne MA, Crump P, Niven SJ, Teuten E, Tonkin A, Galloway T, Thompson RC 2011: Accumulation of microplastic on shorelines worldwide: sources and sinks. Environ Sci Technol 45: 9175-9179 <>
11. Browne MA 2015: Sources and pathways of microplastics to habitats. Springer, Cham, 229 p.
12. Choi JS, Jung YJ, Hong NH, Hong SH, Park JW 2018: Toxicological effects of irregularly shaped and spherical microplastics in a marine teleost, the sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus). Mar Pollut Bull 129: 231-240 <>
13. Coe JM, James M, Rogers DB 1997: Marine debris: sources, impacts, and solutions. Springer-Verlag, New York, 432 p.
14. Cole M, Lindeque P, Fileman E, Halsband C, Goodhead R, Moger J, Galloway TS 2013: Ingestion of microplastics by zooplankton in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Environ Sci Technol 69: 320-330
15. Derraik JG 2002: The pollution of the marine environment by plastic debris: a review. Mar Pollut Bull 44: 842-852 <>
16. Devin S, Giamberini L, Pain-Devin S 2014: Variation in variance means more than mean variations: what does variability tell us about population health status. Environ Int 73: 282-287 <>
17. Dris R, Gasperi J, Saad M, Renault N, Tassin B, Rocher V 2015: Sources and fate of microplastics in urban areas: A focus on Paris megacity. Freshwater microplastics. The Handbook of the environmental chemistry. Springer, Cham, 69 p
18. Eerkes-Medrano D, Thompson RC, Aldridge DC 2015: Microplastics in freshwater systems: A review of emerging threats, identification of knowledge gaps and prioritisation of research needs. Water Res 75: 63-82 <>
19. Eriksen M, Mason S, Wilson S, Box C, Zellers A, Edwards W, Farley H, Amato S 2013: Microplastic pollution in the surface waters of Laurentian Great Lakes. Mar Pollut Bull 77: 177-182 <>
20. Espinosa C, Cuesta A, Esteban MA 2019: Dietary administration of PVC and PE microplastics produces histological damage, oxidative stress and immunoregulation in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.). Fish Shellfish Imunnol 95:574-583 <>
21. Free CM, Jensen OP, Mason SA, Eriksen M, Williamson NJ, Boldgiv D 2014: High-levels of microplastic pollution in large, remote, mountain lake. Mar Pollut Bull 85: 156-163 <>
22. Gray AD, Weinstein JE 2017: Size- and shape-dependent effects of microplastic particles on adult daggerblade grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio). Environ Toxicol Chem 36: 3074-3080 <>
23. Gregory MR 1996: Plastic ‘scrubbers’ in hand cleansers: a further (and minor) source for marine Pollution identified. Mar Pollut Bull 32: 867-871 <>
24. Gregory MR, Andrady AL 2011: Microplastics in the marine environment. Mar Pollut Bull 62: 1596-1605
25. Hamed M, Soliman HAM, Osman AGM, Sayed AE-DH 2019: Assessment the effect of exposure to microplastics in Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) early juvenile: I. blood biomarkers. Chemosphere 228: 345-350 <>
26. Halden RU 2010: Plastics and health risks. Annu Rev Publ Health 31: 179-194 <>
27. Halliwell B, Gutteridge JMC 2015: Free radicals in biology and medicine. Acta Crys 73: 384-385
28. Ivleva NP, Wiesheu AC, Niessener R 2017: Microplastics in aquatic ecosystems. Angew Chem Int Ed 56: 1720-1739 <>
29. Jabeen K, Li B, Chen Q, Su L, Wu C, Hollert H, Shi H 2018: Effects of virgin microplastics on goldfish (Carassius auratus). Chemosphere 213: 323-332 <>
30. Jemec A, Tišler T, Erjavec B, Pintar A 2012: Antioxidant responses and whole-organism changes on Daphnia magna acutely and chronically exposed to endocrine disruptor bisphenol A. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 86: 213-218 <>
31. Kaposi KL, Mos B, Kelaher BP, Dworjanyn SA 2014: Ingestion of microplastic has limited impact on a Marine Larva 43: 1638-1645
32. Kataoka T, Nihei Y, Kudou K, Hinata H 2019: Assessment of the sources and inflow processes of microplastics in the river environments of Japan. Environ Pollut 244: 958-965 <>
33. Kelly WR, Scott J, Zheng W, Holm N, McNeish RE, Hoellein TJ, Baranski EL, Panno SV 2019: Microplastic contamination in Karst groundwater systems. Ground Water 57: 189-196
34. Kiba N 2005: Enzymes in physiological samples. In: Encyclopedia of analytical science. 2nd edn (Ed.): Elsevier, Amsterdam, 536 p.
35. Kumar VE, Ravikumar G, Jeyasanta KI 2018: Occurrence of microplastics in fishes from two landing sites in Tuticorin, South east coast of India. Mar Pollut Bull 135: 889-894 <>
36. Kutralam-Muniasamy G, Pérez-Guevara F, Elizalde-Martínez I, Shruti VC 2020: An overview of recent advances in micro/nano beads and microfibers research: Critical assessment and promoting the less known. Sci Total Environ 740: 139991 <>
37. Lambert S, Scherer Ch, Wagner M 2017: Ecotoxicity testing of microplastics: Considering the heterogeneity of physicochemical properties. Integr Environ Assess Manag 13: 470-475 <>
38. Lei L, Liu M, Song Y, Lu S, Hu J, Cao C, Xie B, Shi H, He D 2018b: Polystyrene (nano)microplastics cause size-dependent neurotoxicity, oxidative damage and other adverse effects in Caenorhabditis elegans. Environ Sci Nano 5: 2009-2020 <>
39. Lei L, Wu S, Lu S, Liu M, Song Y, Fu Z, Shi H, Raley-Susman KM, He D 2018a: Microplastic particles cause intestinal damage and other adverse effect in zebrafish Danio rerio and Caenorhabditis elegans. Sci Total Environ 619-620: 1-8 <>
40. Leslie HA, Brandsma SH, van Velzen MJM, Vethaak AD 2017: Microplastics en route: Field measurements in the Dutch river delta and Amsterdam canals, wastewater treatment plants, North Sea sediments and biota. Environ Int 101: 133-142 <>
41. Li J, Liu H, Paul Chen J 2018: Microplastics in freshwater systems: A review on occurrence, environmental effects, and methods for microplastics detection. Water Research 137: 362-374 <>
42. Lithner D, Larsson A, Dave G 2011: Environmental and health hazard ranking and assessment of plastic polymers based on chemical composition. Sci Total Environ 409: 3309-3324 <>
43. Lu Y, Zhang Y, Deng Y, Jiang W, Zhao Y, Geng J, Ding L, Re, H 2016: Uptake and accumulation of polystyrene microplastics in zebrafish (Danio rerio) and toxic effects in liver. Environ Sci Technol 50: 4054-4060 <>
44. Lusher AL, McHugh M, Thompson RC 2013: Occurrence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract of pelagic and demersal fish from the English Channel. Mar Pollut Bull 67: 94-99 <>
45. Mintenig SM, Löder MGJ, Primpke S, Gerdts G 2019: Low numbers of microplastics detected in drinking water from ground water sources. Sci Total Environ 648: 631-635 <>
46. Paul-Pont I, Lacroix C, González Fernández C, Hégaret H, Lambert Ch, Le Goic N, Frere L, Cassone A-L, Sussarellu R, Fabioux C, Guyomarch J, Albentosa M, Huvet A, Soudant P 2016: Exporuse of marine mussels Mytilus spp. to polystyrene microplastics: Toxicity and influence on fluoranthene bioaccumulation. Environ Pollut 216: 724-737 <>
47. Pichel W, Churnside JH, Veenstra TS, Foley DG, Friedman KS, Brainard RE, Nicoll JB, Zheng Q, Clemente-Colon P 2007: Marine debris collects within the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone. Mar Pollut Bull 54: 1207-1211 <>
48. Rochman ChM, Tahir A, Williams SL, Baxa DV, Lam R, Miller JT, Teh F-Ch, Werorilangi S, The SJ 2015: Anthropogenic debris in seafood: Plastic debris and fibers from textiles in fish and bivales sold for human consumption. Sci Rep 5: 14340 <>
49. Ryan PG, Moore ChJ, van Franeker JA, Moloney CL 2009: Monitoring the abundance plastic in the marine environment. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 364: 1999-2012 <>
50. Scientific Polymer Products 2020: Density of Polymers (by density). Sci Polymer Products. Avaible at: Accessed April 19, 2020.
51. Setälä O, Fleming-Lehtinen V, Lehtiniemi M 2014: Ingestion and transfer of microplastics in the planktonic food web. Environ Pollut 185: 77-83 <>
52. Sharma R, Yang Y, Sharma A, Awasthi S, Awasthi YC 2004: Antioxidant role of glutathione S-transferases: protection against oxidant toxicity and regulation of stress-mediated apoptosis. Antioxid Redox Signal 6: 289-300 <>
53. Su L, Cai H, Kolandhasamy P, Wu Ch, Rochman ChM, Shi H 2018: Using the Asian clam as an indicator of microplastic pollution in freshwater ecosystem. Environ Pollut 234: 374-355
54. Wang J, Coffin S, Sun Ch, Schlenk D, Gan J 2019: Negligible effects of microplastics on animal fitness and HOC bioaccumulation in earthworm Eisenia fetida in soil. Environ Pollut 249: 776-784 <>
55. Wang W, Ndungu AW, Li Z, Wang J 2017: Microplastics pollution in inland freshwaters of China: A case study in urban surface waters of Wuhan, China. Sci Total Environ 575: 1369-1374 <>
56. Wong JKH, Lee KK, Tang KHD, Yap P-S 2020: Microplastics in the freshwater and terrestrial environments: Prevalence, fates, impacts and sustainable solutions. Sci Total Environ 719: 137512 <>
57. Wright SL, Rowe D, Thompson RC, Galloway TS 2013: Microplastic ingestion decreases energy reserves in marine worms. Curr Biol 23: 1031-1033 <>
58. Ye S, Andrady L 1991: Fouling of floating plastic debris under Biscayne Bay exposure conditions. Mar Pollut Bull 22: 608-613 <>
front cover
  • ISSN 0001-7213 (printed)
  • ISSN 1801-7576 (electronic)

Current issue