All that glitters is litter? Ecological impacts of conventional versus biodegradable glitter in a freshwater habitat

Green, Dannielle S. and Jefferson, Megan and Boots, Bas and Stone, Leon (2021) All that glitters is litter? Ecological impacts of conventional versus biodegradable glitter in a freshwater habitat. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 402. p. 124070. ISSN 0304-3894

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Biodegradable plastics are becoming increasingly popular due to global concerns about plastic pollution. In this study, the impacts of glitter manufactured of conventional, non-biodegradable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) versus glitter of alternative materials (modified regenerated cellulose (MRC), mica or synthetic mica) on the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of freshwater, lotic habitats were compared using a semi-natural mesocosm experiment. After 36 days, there was no effect of glitter on overall assemblage structure or diversity indices, however there was a two-fold increase in the abundance of New Zealand mud snails (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) in response to MRC glitter. In addition, the root length of common duckweed (Lemna minor) and phytoplankton biomass (based on chlorophyll content) were significantly reduced by exposure to any type of glitter. On the contrary, the chlorophyll content in the sediment (indicating microphytobenthos biomass) was significantly greater in those exposed to synthetic mica glitter. Organic matter content of sediment did not differ amongst any of the treatments. However initially, on days 8 and 15, NO32− concentration in the control treatment were significantly greater than in all glitter treatments, but this observation disappeared over time. Overall, results indicate that both conventional and alternative glitters can cause ecological impacts in aquatic ecosystems.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Microplastics, Freshwater, PET (polyethylene terephthalate), Modified Regenerated Cellulose (MRC), Mica, Synthetic mica
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2020 09:07
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 11:33

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