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By employing external fertilization (broadcast spawning) as a mating strategy, the gametes and subsequent fertilization of various marine invertebrates are directly subjected to pollution. Although microplastics (MPs) are ubiquitous in marine environments, their potential effects on the fertilization of broadcast spawners remain largely unknown. Therefore in this study, the impacts of polystyrene MPs on the fertilization success of broadcast spawning bivalve (Tegillarca granosa) were investigated. In order to reveal the underlying mechanisms affecting fertilization, the sperm swimming performance, sperm ATP status, sperm viability, DNA integrity, gamete collision probability, gamete fusion efficiency, enzymatic antioxidants, and key ion transport enzyme activities were analyzed. The results showed that MPs weakened the sperm swimming performance through reducing ATP production and cell viability, thus leading to the decreased probability of gamete collision. Furthermore, MPs affected ion transport in the gametes by inducing oxidative stress, which resulted in gamete fusion failure. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that MPs could significantly decrease the fertilization success of T. granosa through reducing gamete collision and lowering gamete fusion efficiency. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Wei Shi, Shuge Sun, Yu Han, Yu Tang, Weishang Zhou, Weixia Zhang, Xueying Du, Lin Huang, Guangxu Liu. Microplastics hamper the fertilization success of a broadcast spawning bivalve through reducing gamete collision and gamete fusion efficiency. Aquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2022 Jan;242:106049

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PMID: 34875489

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