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Groundbreaking Protocol to Test Ecotoxicity of Micro- and Nano-Plastics Released

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An international research collaboration, spearheaded by the University of Eastern Finland, has introduced the first-ever harmonized exposure protocol for ecotoxicity testing of micro- and nano-plastics (MNPs). The findings were published in the renowned journal, Nature Protocols.

The pressing issue of plastic pollution, posing immense threats to the environment and human health, has been further exacerbated due to a lack of standardized guidelines to test the ecotoxicity of MNPs. Previous methods utilized commercial spherical particles as standard models for MNPs, a representation that does not accurately mirror the varied forms and compositions of MNPs found in natural environments. Additionally, conventional ecotoxicity protocols, created for soluble chemicals, have proven unsuitable for MNPs, given their non-dissolvable nature and variable behavior in different exposure mediums.

Addressing these gaps, the novel exposure protocol is tailored to MNPs, capturing their distinct properties and fluctuating behaviors in diverse exposure environments. This framework not only simulates more accurate MNP types, akin to those in the wild, but also lays down procedures for short and long-term toxicity tests on both terrestrial and aquatic creatures.

Through this protocol, toxicity tests were conducted on marine rotifers, freshwater mussels, daphnids, and earthworms. With a timeline ranging from 24 hours to 2 months, this protocol serves as a versatile tool for scholars, industries, and environmental assessors.

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