Mussel poop may help clear oceans of microplastics

Thursday, June 1, 2023 - 14:22 in Paleontology & Archaeology

One of the most widespread pollutants in the ocean is also one of the hardest to see. Trillions of tiny particles of plastic—known as microplastics —can clog the intestines of fish, destroy the tissues of marine creatures, and cause entire populations to decline. Their small size also makes them almost impossible to clean up. Now, scientists have discovered a marine organism that’s not just invulnerable to microplastics, it may have a way to eliminate them—literally. The blue mussel ( Mytilus edulis )—a voracious, filter-feeding mollusk with a blue-black shell—ingests microplastics and other pollutants alongside its typical fare, sequestering the contaminants in feces that are much easier to remove from the water than are the plastics themselves. ...

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