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Microplastics harm fish health: Study finds

Feb 12, 2023

There is a growing body of research that suggests that microplastics may pose a health risk to humans. A study was conducted to determine the effects of dietary microplastics on the digestive performance, hepatic function, and lifespan of the annual fish Nothobranchius guentheri.

The fish were fed a diet of artificial feed containing different concentrations of microplastics (0, 100, 200, and 400 ppm). The results showed that the fish that consumed microplastics had impaired digestive performance, increased hepatic dysfunction, and a shorter lifespan than the fish that did not consume microplastics.

These findings suggest that dietary microplastics can have a negative impact on the health of fish.

Further research is needed to determine the long-term effects of microplastics on fish health and to develop strategies to reduce microplastic pollution.

Microplastics pose serious threat to fish

Here are our key takeaways from the study, Dietary intake of microplastics impairs digestive performance, induces hepatic dysfunction, and shortens lifespan in the annual fish Nothobranchius guentheri.

Dietary microplastics can have a negative impact on the health of fish

 

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that are less than 5 millimetres in size. They can come from a variety of sources, including the breakdown of larger plastic objects, such as bottles and bags, and the release of microplastics from industrial processes. Microplastics are now ubiquitous in the environment, and they can be found in water, soil, and air.

Fish can ingest microplastics through their food or water. Once ingested, microplastics can accumulate in the fish’s body and can have a negative impact on their health.

Microplastics can cause inflammation, oxidative stress, and damage to the fish’s organs.

They can also interfere with the fish’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.

Fish that consume microplastics have impaired digestive performance

 

Microplastics can damage the fish’s digestive system, making it difficult for the fish to digest food. This can lead to weight loss, malnutrition, and a decrease in the fish’s ability to reproduce.

Fish that consume microplastics have increased hepatic dysfunction

 

The liver is an important organ that helps the body to metabolise nutrients and remove toxins. Microplastics can damage the liver, leading to increased levels of liver enzymes and lipid peroxidation. This can lead to liver failure and death.

Microplastics can impact longevity

 

Microplastics can cause a variety of health problems in fish, including impaired digestive performance, hepatic dysfunction, and inflammation. These health problems can lead to a shorter lifespan in fish.

Reference: Xiao, K., Song, L., Li, Y. et al. Dietary intake of microplastics impairs digestive performance, induces hepatic dysfunction, and shortens lifespan in the annual fish Nothobranchius guentheri. Biogerontology 24, 207–223 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10522-022-10007-w