Abstract Title:

Microplastics in the marine environment: Current trends in environmental pollution and mechanisms of toxicological profile.

Abstract Source:

Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2019 Mar 8 ;68:61-74. Epub 2019 Mar 8. PMID: 30877952

Abstract Author(s):

Chibuisi Gideon Alimba, Caterina Faggio

Article Affiliation:

Chibuisi Gideon Alimba


The global plastics production has increased from 1.5 million tons in the 1950s to 335 million tons in 2016, with plastics discharged into virtually all components of the environment. Plastics rarely biodegrade but through different processes they fragment into microplastics and nanoplastics, which have been reported as ubiquitous pollutants in all marine environments worldwide. This study is a review of trend in marine plastic pollution with focus on the current toxicological consequences. Microplastics are capable of absorbing organic contaminants, metals and pathogens from the environment into organisms. This exacerbates its toxicological profile as they interact to induced greater toxic effects. Early studies focused on the accumulation of plastics in the marine environment, entanglement of and ingestions by marine vertebrates, with seabirds used as bioindicators. Entanglement in plastic debris increases asphyxiation through drowning, restrict feeding but increases starvation, skin abrasions and skeletal injuries. Plastic ingestion causes blockage of the guts which may cause injury of the gut lining, morbidity and mortality. Small sizes of the microplastics enhance their translocation across the gastro-intestinal membranes via endocytosis-like mechanisms and distribution into tissues and organs. While in biological systems, microplastics increase dysregulation of gene expression required for the control of oxidative stress and activating the expression of nuclear factor E2-related factor (Nrf) signaling pathway in marine vertebrates and invertebrates. These alterations are responsible for microplastics induction of oxidative stress, immunological responses, genomic instability, disruption of endocrine system, neurotoxicity, reproductive abnormities, embryotoxicity and trans-generational toxicity. It is possible that the toxicological effects of microplastics will continue beyond 2020 the timeline for its ending by world environmental groups. Considering that most countries in African and Asia (major contributors of global plastic pollutions) are yet to come to terms with the enormity of microplastic pollution. Hence, majority of countries from these regions are yet to reduce, re-use or re-circle plastic materials to enhance its abatement.

Study Type : Review
Additional Links
Additional Keywords : Microplastic
Adverse Pharmacological Actions : Genotoxic : CK(540) : AC(179)

Print Options

Key Research Topics

Sayer Ji
Founder of GreenMedInfo.com

Subscribe to our informative Newsletter & get Nature's Evidence-Based Pharmacy

Our newsletter serves 500,000 with essential news, research & healthy tips, daily.

Download Now

500+ pages of Natural Medicine Alternatives and Information.

This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

© Copyright 2008-2021 GreenMedInfo.com, Journal Articles copyright of original owners, MeSH copyright NLM.