Les microplastiques : une menace en rade de Brest ?

Abstract : World production of plastics has increased steadily for the past decades leading to a major contamination of the worldwide aquatic ecosystems recently estimated at more than five trillion plastic pieces floating the surface of the oceans. Microplastics (plastic particles < 5 mm) are introduced into aquatic environments directly as industrial raw material (plastic pellets, cosmetics, clothing) or indirectly via the fragmentation of larger plastics. This emerging contaminant represents an increasing ecological concern for science and society. The present study focused on the microplastic contamination of the Bay of Brest (Brittany, France), a macrotidal coastal ecosystem characterized by intense anthropogenic activity. The main objectives were: (1) to evaluate the contamination of environmental matrices (surface water, subtidal sediment and biota) by microplastics, and (2) to identify their potential role as vector of chemicals and bacteria in the bay of Brest.Methodological developments were first conducted to improve microplastic extraction from environmental matrices as well as their rapid morphological and chemical identification by Raman micro-spectrometry. The field investigations showed that the ecosystem of the bay of Brest is contaminated by microplastics with mean concentrations of 0.24 ± 0.35, and 0.97 ± 2.08 (mean ± standard deviation) in surface water and sediment, respectively. Microplastic contamination in surface water and sediment was dominated by polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene microparticles.Spatial microplastic distribution appeared to be related to proximity to urbanized areas and to hydrodynamic in the bay. Preliminarily results of microplastic contamination in marine bivalves demonstrated relatively low contamination (0.01 ± 0.04, and 0.08 ± 0.34 for mussels and cockles, respectively) by microplastics (mainly polyethylene and polypropylene fragments), however this could be partly related to the methodological limitation identified here (e.g. exclusion of fibers). Organic pollutant (PAH, PCB and pesticides) were detected on floating microplastics at levels (not detected – 49,763 ng g-1, mean ± SD) similar to those measured in sediment and bivalves suggesting low risks in transferring hazardous chemicals in local marine organisms upon microplastic ingestion. Finally, distinct bacterial community assemblages were demonstrated on microplastics as compared with surrounding surface water; the Vibrio genus was identified as a discriminant biomarker of the plastic matrix. Overall, this work provides a first and thorough assessment of the microplastic contamination in the bay of Brest and solid methodological recommendations for further work.
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Laura Frère. Les microplastiques : une menace en rade de Brest ?. Sciences de la Terre. Université de Bretagne occidentale - Brest, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017BRES0046⟩. ⟨tel-01619349⟩

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