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The impacts of synthetic and cellulose-based fibres and their associated dyes on fish hosts and parasite health

MacAulay, Scott, Masud, Numair, Davies-Jones, Josh, Ward, Benjamin D. ORCID: and Cable, Jo ORCID: 2023. The impacts of synthetic and cellulose-based fibres and their associated dyes on fish hosts and parasite health. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 10.1007/s11356-023-30794-0

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Plastic pollution is now a ubiquitous feature of freshwater systems and the majority of this is fibrous. Here, we test the effects of plastic and cellulose-based fibres (polyester, cotton, and bamboo from commercial clothing) on fish host-parasite interactions using a freshwater fish host-parasite model system (guppy Poecilia reticulata-Gyrodactylus turnbulli). For uninfected fish, polyester exposure was associated with significantly higher mortality rates compared with the other two fibre types. For infected fish, whilst polyester and cotton exposure were not associated with any significant changes to parasite burdens, fish exposed to bamboo fibres had significantly reduced maximum parasite burdens compared with fish not exposed to any fibres, indicating that the bamboo fibres and/or associated dyes conferred some degree of resistance or tolerance. Whilst unable to determine the exact nature of the chemical dyes, when testing off-host parasite survival on exposure to the fibre dyes, cotton and particularly polyester dyes were associated with higher parasite mortality compared to bamboo. Overall, we add to the growing body of evidence which shows that polyester microplastic fibres and their associated dyes can be detrimental for both fish and parasite survival, and we highlight the need for increased transparency from textile industries on the chemical identity of fabric dyes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1614-7499
Funders: BBSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 November 2023
Date of Acceptance: 27 October 2023
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2024 15:10

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