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HZAU Makes Headway in Research on Joint Toxicity of NPs and MCLR

Recently, the team led by Prof. Li Guangyu from the College of Fisheries of Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU) published a paper on Journal of Hazardous Materials entitled “The Joint Effect of Parental Exposure to Microcystin-LR(MCLR) and Polystyrene Nanoplastics (NPs) on the Growth of Zebrafish Offspring”. The paper for the first time expounds on the joint toxicity of MCLR and PSNP and how it impedes growth of zebrafish offspring.

Plastic waste is usually degraded into nanoplastics (NPs) under UV radiation, mechanical abrasion and biodegradation, and eventually enters the aquatic ecosystem, greatly threatening fish’s normal process of metabolism and reproduction. NPs, due to its unique physicochemical properties, not only cause toxic effects on fish, but also can produce a “Trojan horse effect” in reaction with other pollutants in the environment, resulting in combined toxic effects on fish. After screening dozens of pollutants commonly seen in the fresh water with PSNPs, the research team found that PSNPs can significantly amplify the toxic effects of MCLR and serve as carriers for the massive accumulation of MCLR in zygotic embryos by increasing the maternal transmission of MCLR, and ultimately causing developmental delays in fish offspring by interfering with the secretion of thyroid hormones and growth hormones.

Providing new evidence for the combined toxicity of exposed NPs and MCLR in natural water body, the research not only expounds on the potential interaction mechanism of NPs with other freshwater pollutants and its mixed toxicity when exposed to organisms, but also provides basic data for the prevention and control of ecotoxicity and environmental risks of NPs.

PhD student Zuo Junli from the College of Fisheries is the first author, and Prof. Li Guangyu is the corresponding author. The research receives funds from “the National Key R&D Program” of China, “Innovation Fund Program” of HZAU and “Top Talent Program” of the College of Fisheries.

Translated by: Cheng Yixuan
Supervised by: Xie Lujie