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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Microplastic exposure and consumption increases susceptibility to gyrodactylosis and host mortality for a freshwater fish

    Numair Masud*, Jo Cable

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Microplastics have been found in all surveyed ecosystems and in the diet of multiple species. Detrimental health impacts of microplastic consumption include reduced growth and fecundity, metabolic stress and immune alterations for both invertebrates and vertebrates. Limited information exists, however, on how disease resistance may be affected by microplastic exposure and consumption. Here, the impact of microplastic (0.01 mg l–1 and 0.05 mg l–1 of polypropylene) on fish host susceptibility to disease and mortality was assessed using the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) – gyrodactylid (Gyrodactylus turnbulli) system. Fish exposed to and/or consuming microplastic at both concentrations demonstrated significantly higher pathogen burdens over time compared with fish fed a plastic-free diet. Furthermore, microplastic (at both tested concentrations) was associated with increased mortality events for fish within all treatments, regardless of host infection status. This study therefore adds to the growing body of evidence showing that microplastic pollution can be detrimental to fish welfare by reducing disease resistance.