Microplastics in the benthic invertebrates from the coastal waters of Kochi, Southeastern Arabian Sea

Abstract

This study examined microplastic particles present in the benthic invertebrates Sternaspis scutata, Magelona cinta (deposit feeders) and Tellina sp. (suspension feeder) from the surface sediments of off-Kochi, southwest coast of India. The microplastic particles and thread-like fibres detected in these organisms were identified to be polystyrene by using DXR Raman microscope. Examination of the microplastic particle in Sternaspis scutata by epifluorescent microscopy showed fragmentation marks on the surface suggesting that the microplastic particle was degraded/weathered in nature. The study provides preliminary evidence of the presence of microplastics in benthic fauna from the coastal waters of India. However, further studies are required to understand the sources, distribution, fate and toxicity of the different types of microplastics in benthic invertebrates in order to identify any potential threats to higher trophic level organisms.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India and Head, ICMAM-PD, MoES, Government of India for the financial support and facilities during the study period. The authors would like to thank Thermo Fisher Scientific India Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai, India, for providing access to the DXR Raman microscope instrumentation facility. The authors wish to thank Dr. Gokulakrishnan Srinivasan and Mr. Aniruddha Pisal of Thermo Fisher Scientific India Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai, India, for their assistance in analysing the samples.

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Correspondence to K. Ramu.

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Naidu, S.A., Ranga Rao, V. & Ramu, K. Microplastics in the benthic invertebrates from the coastal waters of Kochi, Southeastern Arabian Sea. Environ Geochem Health 40, 1377–1383 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-017-0062-z

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Keywords

  • Microplastics
  • Coastal water
  • Arabian Sea
  • Polychaetes
  • Polystyrene