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Intake of microplastics by commercial fish: A Bayesian approach

  • Nunes, Lucélia S.1
  • Silva, Allison G.2
  • Espínola, Luis A.3
  • Blettler, Martín C. M.3
  • Simões, Nadson R.4
  • 1 Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Sistemas Aquáticos Tropicais, Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil , Ilhéus, Bahia (Brazil)
  • 2 Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia da Bahia, Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil , Porto Seguro, Bahia (Brazil)
  • 3 Instituto Nacional de Limnología, Ciudad Universitaria, Santa Fe, Argentina , Santa Fe (Argentina)
  • 4 Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia, Centro de Formação em Ciências Agroflorestais, Itabuna, Bahia, Brazil , Itabuna, Bahia (Brazil)
Published Article
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
Publication Date
Jun 10, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s10661-021-09156-1
Springer Nature


The disordered growth of large cities around water bodies causes environmental damage due to discarded plastics and microplastics (MPs) that aquatic organisms can ingest. This study analyzed the occurrence, type, and abundance of MPs in the gastrointestinal contents of four species of commercial fish (120 total specimens), namely, Brazilian mojarra (Eugerres brasilianus) and mullets (Mugil curema, Mugil curvidens, and Mugil liza), obtained in Porto Seguro in Bahia, Brazil, between March and May 2019. A priori probability distributions were generated using a Bayesian approach and simulations to assess MP intake based on varying exposure amounts (θ = 0.2, θ = 0.5, and θ = 0.8). E. brasilianus (53.33%) and Mugil spp. (41.66%) were contaminated with some types of MPs. Black, blue, and green MPs dominated in the extracted samples, and most measured 1.0 mm in length or smaller. The dominant polymers identified using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were polyester, polypropylene, semi-synthetic rayon fiber, and polyamide 6 (nylon). The a posteriori probabilities of more than half the E. brasilianus and Mugil spp. ingesting MPs were 0.336 and 0.008, respectively, indicating that E. brasilianus is much more likely to ingest MPs. These simulations can be useful tools for assessing the environmental quality and local anthropic impact of MP ingestion by fish populations.

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