PLASCOTE (EPOC / INRAE EABX)
PLastics and ASsociated COnTaminants in thE Leyre river: fate, toxicity and awareness.
Concerns about plastic pollutants are growing around a major question: what are their fate and effects into the environment? Very recent studies have demonstrated the fractionation of plastics into nanoscale particles (called nanoplastics, NPs) whose fate remains completely unknown to date in aquatic systems. Yet they may be the most hazardous fraction of plastic wastes for aquatic life because of their nanometric properties which enable them to enter cells, and their important surface/volume ratio which facilitates the adsorption of environmental compounds, such as contaminants.
Therefore, determining the presence of NPs in the environment needs more attention to better answer several major questions: Can NPs accumulate into aquatic organisms? Or be elimi- nated? Can they convey other contaminants, and be toxic for aquatic life? To answer these questions, this project will group four research teams and an association, and focus on the workshop site of the Leyre river, because it is of great ecologic, touristic and economic importance for the Arcachon Bay.
The first objective will aim to select sites presenting a plastic contamination, especially downstream waste water treatment plants in the Leyre watershed. In the second objective, several species will be exposed in situ and water and sediment samples will be collected to identify the potential presence of NPs and associated contaminants with very innovative chemistry methods. The third objective will aim to assess the toxicity of NPs and their associated contaminants under laboratory conditions, from the molecular to the individual level, including behavioral tests. Data will be compared with in situ exposures. Throughout the project, an association will be in charge of disseminating the results. This original collaboration will help sensitize public and raise local actors’ awareness about the existence of this nanofraction of plastic wastes and their impacts on ecosystems as well as public health.
© Photo : Microscopie électronique - Nanoplastiques issus de la dégradation naturelle des plastiques en milieu naturel
Source : Gigault J., ter Halle A., Baudrimont M., Pascal P.-Y., Gauffre F., El Hadri H., Grassl B., Reynaud S.(2018). Current opinion: what is a nanoplastic? Environmental Pollution, 235: 1030-1034. doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.01.024)