Volume 25, Issue 12 p. 2792-2806
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Nylon microfibers develop a distinct plastisphere but have no apparent effects on the gut microbiome or gut tissue status in the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis

Hannah I. Collins

Corresponding Author

Hannah I. Collins

Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, Groton, Connecticut, USA

Correspondence

Hannah I. Collins, Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, Groton, CT 06340 USA.

Email: [email protected]

Contribution: Conceptualization (equal), Formal analysis (lead), Funding acquisition (supporting), ​Investigation (lead), Writing - original draft (lead), Writing - review & editing (lead)

Search for more papers by this author
Tyler W. Griffin

Tyler W. Griffin

Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, Groton, Connecticut, USA

Contribution: Formal analysis (supporting), ​Investigation (supporting), Writing - review & editing (supporting)

Search for more papers by this author
Bridget A. Holohan

Bridget A. Holohan

Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, Groton, Connecticut, USA

Contribution: ​Investigation (supporting), Supervision (supporting), Writing - review & editing (supporting)

Search for more papers by this author
J. Evan Ward

J. Evan Ward

Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, Groton, Connecticut, USA

Contribution: Conceptualization (equal), Funding acquisition (lead), Supervision (lead), Writing - review & editing (supporting)

Search for more papers by this author
First published: 04 September 2023
Citations: 1

Abstract

Ingestion of microplastics (MP) by suspension-feeding bivalves has been well-documented. However, it is unclear whether exposure to MP could damage the stomach and digestive gland (gut) of these animals, causing ramifications for organism and ecosystem health. Here, we show no apparent effects of nylon microfiber (MF) ingestion on the gut microbiome or digestive tissues of the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis. We exposed mussels to two low concentrations (50 and 100 particles/L) of either nylon MF or Spartina spp. particles (dried, ground marsh grass), ca. 250–500 μm in length, or a no particle control laboratory treatment for 21 days. Results showed that nylon MF, when aged in coarsely filtered seawater, developed a different microbial community than Spartina spp. particles and seawater, however, even after exposure to this different community, mussel gut microbial communities resisted disturbance from nylon MF. The microbial communities of experimental mussels clustered together in ordination and were similar in taxonomic composition and measures of alpha diversity. Additionally, there was no evidence of damage to gut tissues after ingestion of nylon MF or Spartina spp. Post-ingestive particle processing likely mediated a short gut retention time of these relatively large particles, contributing to the negligible treatment effects.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST STATEMENT

The authors declare no competing financial interest.

DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT

The data that support the findings of this study are openly available in the NCBI Short Read Archive (SRA) under BioProject ID: PRJNA823368.