Depuration reduces microplastic content in wild and farmed mussels
Plastic pollution is a pervasive problem to marine life. This study aimed (1) to investigate levels of microplastic in wild and farmed mussels (Perna perna), and (2) to assess the effectiveness of depuration in reducing microplastics. Wild and farmed mussels were sampled from Guanabara Bay (Southwestern Atlantic). Four treatments were compared (N = 10 mussels/treatment): wild non-depurated mussels, wild depurated mussels, farmed non-depurated mussels, and farmed depurated mussels. Up to 31.2 ± 17.8 microplastics/mussel (≥0.45 μm) were detected (means ± SD), and microplastics were present in all 40 individuals analyzed. Nylon fibers were more abundant than polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) fragments. Blue, transparent, and red nylon fibers were more abundant in both wild and farmed mussels. Although 93 h-depuration significantly reduced microplastics (ANOVA, p = 0.02) in both wild (46.79%) and farmed mussels (28.95%), differences between farmed and wild mussels were not significant (p > 0.05). Depuration was more effective in removing blue fibers. Our results highlight the importance of depuration in reducing microplastic pollution in seafood.
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