Bioavailability of steroid hormones sorbed on microplastics for aquatic organisms through biological fluids

Many studies have reported that hydrophobic organic contaminants have the ability to sorb on microplastics in aquatic ecosystem via different mechanisms of sorption. However, a lack of studies investigating desorption of such contaminants in organism fluids has been disclaimed. The bioavailability of potential risk-compounds for aquatic organisms has to be assessed. It has been largely reported that adsorption onto microplastics is directly linked with hydrophobicity property of contaminants; the more hydrophobic the pollutant, the higher the sorption capacity. However, it is expected that the least hydrophobic molecules desorb more easily from microplastics. In our study, steroid hormones with different hydrophobicities, namely progesterone and testosterone, are used and their respective desorption from different types of microplastics is investigated in gastric and gut fluids. The idea is to discern if the ingestion of microplastics by organisms might promote desorption of potential sorbed micropollutants and therefore their bioavailability for such species. By using more complex composition of gastric and intestinal fluids separately and then sequentially, the purposes are to reproduce realistic digestive conditions and furthermore determine the organ which is the most prompt to enhance bioavailability of pollutants. Our results show that a higher desorption efficiency (58.6-73.0%, depending on plastic types) is reached in intestinal fluid than in freshwater (31.1-53.6%) or in gastric fluid (18.7-43.9%). Bile salts in intestinal fluid form micelles able to promote the solubilization of pollutants. Adsorption of pepsin onto microplastics has also been revealed, suggesting a competition between pollutant and pepsin for sorption sites and a potent reduction of pollutant solubilization. Our results indicate that progesterone daily intake via microplastics exposure is equal to 16.0μg/kg/day upon intestinal digestion, which represents about 13% of daily intake via water exposure. This observation suggests that ingestion is an additional route of exposure of pollutants and therefore emphasizes pollutants bioavailability for aquatic organisms.

Presented at:
MICRO2020 International Conference. Fate and impacts of microplastics: knowledge and responsibilities, Lanzorote, Spain and Virtual Meeting, November 23-27 2020
Oct 14 2020

 Record created 2020-10-14, last modified 2020-10-15

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