Investigating the Vector Effect of Microplastic combined with Fluoranthene: A study of DNA damage in gill cells from the blue mussel. M. edulis, when using Comet Assay

Sandie Nhatien Vu, Jannie Jørgensen, Pia Ringh Bohi & Bonnie Sofie Håkansson

Studenteropgave: Bachelorprojekt


Plastic production and thus degradation is consequently increasing. A part of the plastic waste is recycled, while some end up in nature and more specifically, the ocean. Microplastic (MP), manufactured as such, or as derivatives from larger plastic fragments, has been accumulating in the oceans over decades. This is essential, because MP has the ability to concentrate high levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as fluoranthene, which can be taken up by marine animals, like the blue mussel, M. edulis. It is known, that MP may accumulate and cause damages, such as blockages, in the internal organs. Fluoranthene is known to be harmful for these animals, and are considered one of 45 prioritized pollutants, defined by the European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/CE).
This study focused on DNA damages in the blue mussel, M. edulis, using the Comet Assay (alkaline lysis method). The aim was to investigate the difference in DNA damages, caused by MP or fluoranthene alone, and MP as a vector for fluoranthene.
Results from the study, showed a varying level of DNA damage ranging from 0.36% to 2.33% overall, between the four setups, over three days of exposure. The positive control resulted in low levels of DNA damages (1.74%), indicating that there were possible limitations in the comet assay. Deviations may be due to improper storage of the samples before examination, as it turned out, the used protocol recommended different storage compared to other studies. The results from this study are, for this reason, not representable to draw conclusions from, regarding the vector effect.

UddannelserBasis - Naturvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Bachelor
Udgivelsesdato27 maj 2016
Antal sider62


  • microplastic
  • vector effect
  • comet assay
  • mytilus edulis
  • fluoranthene