The tiny plastic particles polluting our seas are not only orally ingested by marine creatures, but also enter their systems through their gills, according to a new study. When microplastics are drawn in through this method they take over six times longer to leave the body compared with standard digestion.
The researchers used fluorescently labelled polystyrene microspheres to show how ingested microplastics were retained within the body tissues of the common shore crab, Carcinus maenas. Multiphoton imaging suggested that most microspheres were retained in the foregut after sticking to hair-like ‘setae’ structures within the crabs
By the way, a recent study concluded that 88% of the ocean surface contains microplastic.