Suffocated by plastic


From cosmetics to food products, nanoparticles have many useful applications. But they have a dark side too. Swedish researchers say plastic nanoparticles are transferred from algae to fish through zooplankton. This affects fish metabolism. During the 60-day experiment, the team constructed two food chains, one with and one without nanoparticles. The exposed fish moved slowly, hunted less and took twice as long to consume the same amount of food as the control fish. In the absence of food, the control fish used energy reserves, while the exposed fish were inhibited from using the reserves. The results could help investigate potential biological risks associated with plastic nanoparticles.


Down To Earth, March 2012