In recent, Dr. Huang Guo-Yong from the Environmental Research Institute of South China Normal University collaborated with Prof. Schlenk's laboratory from the University of California, Riverside, published a research article “Fish and Seabird Gut Conditions Enhance Desorption of Estrogenic Chemicals from Commonly-Ingested Plastic Items” in 《Environmental Science & Technology》. It is the first time to show that fish and seabird gut conditions could enhance desorption of estrogenic chemicals from commonly-ingested plastic items.
Plastic is ingested by over 100 bird species and 40 fish species. Once ingested, plastic may release endocrine-disrupting plastic additives to the animal, however, amounts transferred are poorly characterized. We exposed 16 commonly ingested plastic items under fish and seabird laboratory gut mimic models. Gut liquid was then evaluated for estrogen receptor activity using an in vitro cell line and plastic-additive concentrations were quantified using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry.
Both seabird and fish gut conditions significantly enhanced the biological estrogenicity of expanded polystyrene, polyethylene shopping bag and polypropylene string relative to controls, resulting in up to a 10.6-fold increase in estrogenicity. Out of 12 plastic additives analyzed, bisphenol A (BPA) (204±129%) and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) (175±97%) concentrations were significantly increased in seabird gut conditions relative to control and butylbenzyl phthalate (BBP) (132±68%) was significantly increased in fish gut conditions relative to control. BPA, DEHP and BBP did not adequately account for the increase in biological estrogenicity, suggesting uncharacterized plastic additives may have been enhanced by gut conditions.
This work was presented at the conference “Nano- and microplastics in technical and freshwater systems” in Ascona, Switzerland in October 2018, and received an award for “Best Contribution.”
Coffin, Scott*; Huang, Guo-Yong*; Lee, Ilkeun; Schlenk, Daniel. Fish and Seabird Gut Conditions Enhance Desorption of Estrogenic Chemicals from Commonly-Ingested Plastic Items. March 25, 2019, Environmental Science & Technology. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b07140.