Anthropogenic particles in the stomach contents and liver of the freshwater fish Squalius cephalus

Author: France Collard, Johnny Gasperi, Bernard Gilbert, Gauthier Eppe, Sam Azimi, Vincent Rocher and BrunoTassin
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: Science of the Total Environment 643: 1257–1264

Anthropogenic particles (APs) are a very broad category of particles produced directly or indirectly by human activities. Their ingestion by biota is well studied in the marine environment. In contrast, studies on AP ingestion in wild freshwater organisms are scarce despite high contamination levels in some rivers and lakes. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the ingestion of APs and the possible occurrence of APs in the liver and muscle of a freshwater fish, Squalius cephalus, from the Parisian conurbation. After isolation, the particles were analyzed using Raman spectroscopy. In sixty stomachs, eighteen APs were found, half of which were plastics and the other half were dyed particles. Twenty-five percent of sampled individuals had ingested at least one AP. The mean length of the APs was 2.41 mm. No significant difference was found between the sites upstream and downstream of Paris. Additionally, 5% of sampled livers contained one or more APs, which were characterized as microplastics (MPs). No APs were found in the muscle tissue. The majority of APs isolated from stomach contents were fibers, which is similar to the findings of a previous river contamination study. This highlights that fish could be more exposed to fibers than previously thought and that more studies on the impacts of fiber ingestion are required. Despite their low occurrence, MPs are reported, for the first time, in the liver of a wild freshwater fish species. While the pathways and impacts are still unknown, MPs also occur in liver of marine mollusks and fish. Physiological in vitro studies are needed to better evaluate the impacts of such phenomena.

Microplastics, Fibers, Seine River, European chub, Muscle, Liver

Collard, F., Gasperi, J., Gilbert, B., Eppe, G., Azimi, S., Rocher, V., Tassin, B., 2018. Anthropogenic particles in the stomach contents and liver of the freshwater fish Squalius cephalus. Science of the Total Environment 643: 1257–1264.