Shrimp and microplastics: a case study with the Atlantic ditch shrimp Palaemon varians
Saborowski, R.; Korez, Šp.; Riesbeck, S.; Weidung, M.; Bickmeyer, U.; Gutow, L.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 234: 113394
Many invertebrate species inhabit coastal areas where loads of plastic debris and microplastics are high. In the current case study, we exemplarily illustrate the principal processes taking place in the Atlantic ditch shrimp, Palaemon varians, upon ingestion of microplastics. In the laboratory, shrimp readily ingested fluorescent polystyrene microbeads of 0.1-9.9 µm, which could be tracked within the widely translucent body. Ingested food items as well as micro-particles cumulate in the stomach where they are macerated and mixed with digestive enzymes. Inside the stomach, ingested particles are segregated by size by a complex fine-meshed filter system. Liquids and some of the smallest particles (0.1 µm) pass the filter and enter the midgut gland where resorption of nutrients as well as synthesis and release of digestive enzymes take place. Large particles and most of the small particles are egested with the feces through the hindgut. Small particles, which enter the midgut gland, may interact with the epithelial cells and induce oxidative stress, as indicated by elevated activities of superoxide dismutase and cellular markers of reactive oxygen species. The shrimp indiscriminately ingest microparticles but possess efficient mechanisms to protect their organs from overloading with microplastics and other indigestible particles. These include an efficient sorting mechanism within the stomach and the protection of the midgut gland by the pyloric filter. Formation of detrimental radical oxygen species is counteracted by the induction of enzymatic antioxidants.