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Title: The Role of Microplastics in Marine Pathogen Transmission: Retrospective Regression Analysis, Experimental Design, and Disease Modelling
Authors: Bidegain, Gorka; Sestelo, Marta; Lastra Luque, Patricia; Uriarte, Ibon; Iriarte, Arantza; Villate, Fernando
Abstract: Marine wildlife and aquaculture species can accumulate large amounts of marine microplastic debris (MMD) (<1 mm) carrying pathogens, thus threatening the health of marine ecosystems and posing a risk to food safety and human health. Here, we outline a theoretical three-perspective approach for studying the relationship between MMD and disease. First, we provide a framework for retrospective analysis of MMD and pathogen loads in marine animal tissues to assess the relationship between these and other environmental variables in order to decide whether a compound or pathogen should be considered an emerging substance or organism. Second, we describe an experimental design for testing the effects of a variety of microplastics on infection intensity in two model species (oysters and zebrafish). Finally, we create a theoretical susceptible-infected microplastic particle and pathogen transmission model for bivalves and fish. Overall, the experiments and models we propose will pave the way for future research designed to assess the role of MMD as a vector for marine and human pathogens. This multi-faceted approach needs to be an urgent priority of the EU Strategic Research Innovation Agenda for addressing marine disease challenges related to MMD.
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: MDPI
Type: Article
DOI: 10.3390/jmse10121837
E-ISSN: 2077-1312
Funder: National Science Foundation Evolution and Ecology of Infectious Diseases (EEID) Program [OCE-1216220]
University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) [GIU19/059]
Basque Government [PIBA2020-1-0028]
Appears in Publication types:Artículos científicos

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