Scientia Marina, Vol 83, No 4 (2019)

Microplastics in wild mussels (Mytilus spp.) from the north coast of Spain

Pablo Reguera
Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo - Universidade da Coruña, Facultade de Ciencias, Spain

Lucía Viñas
Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, Spain

Jesús Gago
Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, Spain


Microplastic content (MPs) in mussels (Mytilus spp.) from two areas of the north coast of Spain was measured for the first time. Additionally, a comparison of microplastic levels observed in mussels digested with nitric acid and with potassium hydroxide was carried out. The average microplastic concentration in mussels digested with nitric acid was significantly lower than that observed in mussels digested with potassium hydroxide (p < 0.05). The average concentration of microplastics in mussels from the Cantabrian Sea (2.55±2.80 MPs g–1 WW) was slightly higher than that in mussels from the Ria of Vigo (1.59±1.28 MPs g–1 WW). Both in the Ria of Vigo and in the Cantabrian Sea the observed pattern of pollution was fitted to the one expected. Consequently, mussels have been confirmed as suitable sentinel organisms for microplastic pollution.


biota samples; NW Spain; seafood; biomonitoring; bivalve molluscs; microplastics

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