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New CRC 1357 press release: Bayreuth case study discovers ecological impact of water-soluble polymers


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We are pleased to announce a press release from the University of Bayreuth on the study below:

You can find the UBT press release here: https://www.uni-bayreuth.de/press-releases/WSSPs-water-fleas

Bayreuth case study discovers ecological impact of water-soluble polymers

Water-soluble synthetic polymers (WSSPs) are found in many everyday products. What the consequences are when these plastics enter rivers, lakes and oceans is still largely unexplored. A team from the University of Bayreuth has now systematically investigated the effects on water fleas of the species Daphnia magna for the first time. The polymers selected for testing significantly alter the body size and reproduction of the animals in some cases. The research, published in Science of The Total Environment, shows that water-soluble polymers could have consequences for biodiversity and food chains in aquatic ecosystems that should not be underestimated.

The authors of the study are: Simona Mondellini, Matthias Schott, Martin G.J. Löder, Seema Agarwal, Andreas Greiner, Christian Laforsch.

"Beyond microplastics: Water soluble synthetic polymers exert sublethal adverse effects in the freshwater cladoceran Daphnia magna."

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.157608

veröffentlicht in: Science of The Total Environment

Abstract: Plastic pollution is considered one of the causes of global change. However, water soluble synthetic polymers (WSSPs) have been neglected so far, although they are used in several industrial, dietary, domestic and biomedical products. Moreover, they are applied in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) as flocculants and coagulant agents. Hence, their presence in the aquatic environment as well as their uptake by aquatic organisms is probable, whereas no data are available regarding their potential adverse effects. Here we show in the freshwater key species D. magna exposed to five different WSSPs life history changes along with an altered level of reactive oxygen species, although acute mortality was not observed. Since daphnids act as keystone species in lake ecosystems by controlling phytoplankton biomass, even sublethal effects such as WSSPs induced changes in life history may result in cascading effects, from lower to higher trophic levels, which in turn could affect the whole food web.

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