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UK study investigates plastic uptake in scallops

Tue, 29 Jan 2019

A UK scientist says it’s too early to tell whether the presence of nano-plastics in scallops is a cause for concern.

A study by the University of Plymouth revealed that billions of the tiny particles, invisible to the human eye, can accumulate in the shellfish in just six hours, but are also quickly released.

Using a radioactive tracer, the researchers followed the plastic to see how it passed through the filter feeders’ digestive system.

The university chose scallops because they’re a large shellfish, making them easier to study, and conducted the experiments in a controlled environment.

Professor Richard Thompson led the study; he says it was an attempt to ‘scope the horizon’ of nano-plastics in the marine environment.

In his view, the study has no implications for the fishing industry at this stage, and wouldn’t stop him ‘enjoying a few scallops for dinner’.

Professor Thompson says the next step is to investigate whether the results in scallops are the same for other creatures, and then look at whether the particles are benign or harmful.

The academic, who cut his teeth at the Marine Biological Centre in Port Erin, has been explaining the scallop study to Local Democracy Reporter Ewan Gawne:


  • Manx Trust


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