Date of Award

8-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Environmental Toxicology

Advisor

Brune, David E.

Committee Member

Klaine , Stephen J.

Committee Member

Ke , Pu-Chun

Committee Member

Sharp , Julia L.

Abstract

Plastic pollution constitutes a threat to marine wildlife because of the deleterious impacts ranging from entanglement to ingestion of plastic debris. However, knowledge regarding the impacts of fragmented plastics into micron sizes and their interaction with other toxicants in the marine environment is still limited. In the present study the impact of polystyrene microspheres, 3 µm in diameter, upon toxicity of phenol to the brine shrimp Artemia was investigated in acute toxicity tests. The brine shrimp are employed as a model organism in marine toxicity tests. Phenol is a hydrophobic compound used as an intermediate resin discharged to the environment. Adult brine shrimps reared in the laboratory were exposed to phenol at nominal concentrations ranging from 40 to 200 mgL-1 to quantify the toxicity of phenol. Polystyrene microspheres at nominal concentrations of 100, 200 and 300 mgL-1 were then loaded to the phenol solutions to examine their impact upon toxicity of phenol to the brine shrimp. Results suggested that toxicity of phenol, as expressed by LC50 values, was lowered by the addition of higher concentrations of microspheres to test solutions for 48-h and 72-h exposure times. The data suggest that sorption of phenol to polystyrene beads is supported by other plastic congener profiles, protecting the brine shrimp against toxic levels of phenol. Moreover, the body burden of beads was increased with the increase of bead concentration, reveling that more beads in the organism can interact with the chemical.

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