Toxicity of tyre wear particle leachates to marine phytoplankton

Thomas Suurlan Page*, Rodrigo Almeda, Marja Koski, Evanthia Bournaka, Torkel Gissel Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Tyre wear particles (TWP) are some of the dominant sources of microplastics in the aquatic environment. Once TWP enter aquatic systems, they can leach certain plastic additives that can be potentially toxic to biota. However, little is known about the impact of TWP lixiviates on marine phytoplankton, the base of marine food webs. This study aims to determine the acute toxic effect of leachates derived from TWP on three phytoplankton species: the cryptophyte Rhodomonas salina, the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii and the dinoflagellate Heterocapsa steinii, using the median effect concentration (EC50) for specific growth rate as endpoint. Leachates were obtained by incubating 1 g L−1 of < 250 µm TWP in artificial seawater for 3 days. Each phytoplankton species was exposed to leachates at five different concentrations, and cell concentrations were measured every 24 hours over 3 days. Leachates from TWP were toxic to marine phytoplankton. The dinoflagellate H. steinii was the most sensitive species, with 72-h EC50 of 23% leachate concentration, whereas R. salina and T. weissflogii exhibited EC50 values of 64% and 73%, respectively. Our results suggest that TWP leachates have a negative effect on phytoplankton growth, although more field data on the concentration of TWPs and their leachates is needed to fully evaluate the environmental impact of TWP.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106299
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Phytoplankton
  • Tyre wear particles
  • Leachates


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