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The effects of microplastics on the physiology of marine crustaceans, diadromes and freshwater of economic interest

Grant number: 21/08500-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2021
Effective date (End): September 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology
Principal researcher:Alessandra da Silva Augusto
Grantee:Héllen Siqueira Leite
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB-CLP). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus Experimental do Litoral Paulista. São Vicente , SP, Brazil


Microplastics are present in all aquatic environments, from marine to freshwater. Early studies have shown that these contaminants can affect various aspects of animal biology such as gills and gut morphophysiology, growth, reproduction, and be a transport route for other contaminants, such as metals, into the body of organisms. However, information about its effects on the biology of organisms is still scarce and it is not known whether the damage is similar in species living in different aquatic ecosystems. Therefore, the objective of this project is to compare the effects of microplastics on the physiology of crustaceans of economic interest that inhabit the marine environment (the shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei) and freshwater (the shrimp Macrobrachium potiuna), as well as a species that migrates between freshwater and brackish water (the diadromous shrimp, Macrobrachium amazonicum). A mesh of physiological mechanisms will be investigated (metabolism, hepatosomatic index, type of energy substrate oxidized, ammonia excretion, and osmoregulation) in animals exposed for 10 days to different concentrations of glitter (0.4mg/L, 4mg/L, and 40 mg/L). Control animals will be kept under the same conditions, but in water without microplastics. The composition of the microplastics will be determined by pyrolysis coupled to mass spectrometry. The shrimp will be kept at the salinities where they can be found in nature: M. potiuna will be kept in freshwater (d0.5S), M. amazonicum in fresh or brackish water (10S and 20S) and L. vannamei in brackish or marine water (20S, 30S, and 35S). In one of the species, the shrimp L. vannamei, kept in water without microplastic after being exposed for a period of 10 days in contaminated water in order to find out if the animals can recover their homeostasis after the exclusion of the contaminant. Knowledge about aspects of physiology is important because it can alert us to environmental changes caused by pollutants that can alter biodiversitycan alter biodiversity, cultivation, and fishing of species of economic interest. (AU).

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