Exposure to a microplastic mixture is altering the life traits and is causing deformities in the non-biting midge Chironomus riparius Meigen (1804)

Stankovic, Jelena
Milosevic, Djuradj
Savic-Zdrakovic, Dimitrija
Yalçın, Gülce
Yildiz, Dilvin
Beklioğlu, Meryem
Jovanovic, Boris
The effect of microplastics (MP) exposure on the chironomid species Chironomus riparius Meigen, 1804 was investigated using the OECD sediment and water toxicity test. Chironomid larvae were exposed to an environmentally relevant low microplastics concentration (LC), a high microplastics concentration (HC) and a control (C). The LC was 0.007 g m(-2) on the water surface + 2 g m(-3) in the water column + 8 g m(-2) in the sediment, and the HC was 10 X higher than this for each exposure. The size of the majority of the manufactured microplastic pellets varied between 20 and 100 mm. The MP mixture consisted of: polyethylene-terephtalate (PET), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl-chloride (PVC) and polyamide (PA) in a ratio of 45%: 15%: 20%: 20%, respectively, for the sediment exposure; 100% polyethylene for the water column exposure; and 50% polyethylene: 50% polypropylene for the water surface exposure. Different endpoints were monitored, including morphological changes in the mandibles and mentums of 4th instar larvae, morphological changes in the wings, mortality, emergence ratio, and developmental time. A geometric morphometric analysis showed a tendency toward widening of the wings, elongation of the mentums and changing the shape of the mandibles in specimens exposed to both concentrations of microplastics. The development time of C. riparius was significantly prolonged by the MP treatment: 13.8 +/- 0.5; 14.4 +/- 0.6; and 15.3 +/- 0.4 days (mean +/- SD) in the C, LC, and HC, respectively. This study indicates that even environmentally relevant concentrations of MP mixture have a negative influence on C. riparius, especially at the larval stage.