The Influence of Polyethylene Nanoplastics on The Toxicity of Methoxychlor on D. magna

by Thanh-Binh Duong

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tyler Frankel

Nanoplastics (NPs), defined as plastic particles < 0.1 mm, have become an emerging concern in aquatic environments due to their multiple pathways of entry into rivers and streams. NPs may originate from the manufactured beads for personal care products as well as the from the fragmentation of larger plastic items. Due to their small size they are easily ingested by aquatic organisms, resulting in detrimental health effects such as digestive tract obstructions, feeding debilitation, and energy depletion. Due to their physiochemical attributes, NPs have also been shown to sorb and mobilize organic pollutants such as pesticides, suggesting that interactions between these two types of pollutants may result in an altered biological response compared to the effects of each individual contaminant. This study assessed the potential synergistic or antagonistic effects of polyethylene nanoparticles and the organochlorine pesticide methoxychlor on the viability and mobility of Daphnia magna. Adult D. magna were exposed to either 1) virgin 10-20┬Ám polyethylene pellets, 2) methoxychlor, or 3) various combinations of the same pellet and methoxychlor concentrations for 48 hours or 7 days using a static exposure method. Mortality and paralysis were assessed per 24 hours of exposure. Mobility was assessed after 24 hours of exposure. To assess mobility, individuals were recorded in a light-controlled behavioral chamber for 3 minutes. Footage was analyzed using ToxTrac to quantify mobile speed, acceleration, and distance traveled. While this project is currently ongoing, we expect to find a significant difference in mobility parameters and mortality rates when exposed to the combination of polyethylene pellets and methoxychlor compared to the effects from each contaminant alone. Thus far, few studies have examined the ability of NPs to influence the toxicity of organochlorine pesticides in aquatic invertebrates. This study will help explicate the impacts of plastic pollution on aquatic biota in freshwater systems.

9 Replies to “The Influence of Polyethylene Nanoplastics on The Toxicity of Methoxychlor on D. magna”

  1. Great job, Binh! I am looking forward to seeing the results of future studies even though you will be moving on.

  2. Binh – thank you for sharing your work on the environmental impact of nanoplastics. It was fascinating to observe the injection of the micro beads.

  3. Binh,
    This is very interesting work and it would be exciting to see the results of this study if it was continued. It’s especially fascinating that you are not only observing the effect of the two contaminants separately but also observing the synergistic effects of the contaminants on the D. magna. Great work!

  4. Binh, Very interesting study and well presented. Like others, I would be interested in further results.

  5. Binh, I wish we could have met in person this year, but I am glad we can see your poster and read about your work. It is great to see that you are working with combined effects of the nanoplastics and a pesticide on aquatic life. I know this must be a bit frustrating this spring as you try to complete classes and make your work public, and it would have been enjoyable to talk to you over lunch this week-end, but I am so pleased that Robert’s scholarship contributed just a little to this project and to your work. I would love to hear what your next steps are in science and in life!

  6. Binh,
    So very proud of you! Please keep in touch, and good luck at Clemson! This is fascinating work.

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