G. Pellini, A. Gomiero, T. Fortibuoni, Carmen Ferrà, F. Grati, N. Tassetti, P. Polidori, G. Fabi, G. Scarcella,
Characterization of microplastic litter in the gastrointestinal tract of Solea solea from the Adriatic Sea,
Micro-plastic particles in the world’s oceans represent a
serious threat to both human health and marine ecosystems. Once released
into the aquatic environment plastic litter is broken down to smaller
pieces through photo-degradation and the physical actions of waves,
The resulting particles may become so small that they are
readily taken up by fish, crustaceans and mollusks. There is mounting
evidence for the uptake of plastic particles by marine organisms that
form part of the human food chain and this is driving urgent calls for
further and deeper investigations into this pollution issue.
The present study aimed at investigating for the first time the occurrence, amount,
typology of microplastic litter in the gastrointestinal tract of Solea
solea and its spatial distribution in the northern and central Adriatic
Sea. This benthic flatfish was selected as it is a species of high
commercial interest within the FAO GFCM (General Fisheries Commission
for the Mediterranean) area 37 (Mediterranean and Black Sea) where
around 15% of the overall global Solea solea production originates. The
digestive tract contents of 533 individuals collected in fall during
2014 and 2015 from 60 sampling sites were examined for microplastics.
These were recorded in 95% of sampled fish, with more than one
microplastic item found in around 80% of the examined specimens.
The most commonly found polymers were polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene,
polyethylene, polyester, and polyamide, 72% as fragments and 28% as
fibers. The mean number of ingested microplastics was 1.73 ± 0.05 items
per fish in 2014 and 1.64 ± 0.1 in 2015. PVC and PA showed the highest
densities in the northern Adriatic Sea, both inshore and off-shore while
PE, PP and PET were more concentrated in coastal areas with the highest
values offshore from the port of Rimini.