Saroglia Marco

Professor, Università degli Studi dell’Insubria; AGER 4F Project coordinator

13th February


Speech: Micro and nanoplastics in intensive Aquaculture: Assessment and routes for minimizing the problem

Marco Saroglia1, Francesco Gai2, Massimo Labra3, Marino Prearo4, Genciana Terova1

It is estimated that in an average worldwide, the annual contribution of microplastics through the consumption of table salt, is 3,000 particles per individual, in spite large regional variability.

The contamination of the oceans by the microplastics does not worry only because of the ecological impacts but also because it could threaten food safety and human health.  The exposure occurs through many largely unavoidable pathways, nevertheless the presence of microplastics in animal and plant species used for human consumption is a peculiar aspect of the problem. In addition to table salt, tape waters, both terrestrial and aquatic foods, are just some of the ways in which we assumed micro and nanoplastics for over half a century, while the consumption of seafood is onlyone of these.

Although the data on the presence of microplastics in the environment are now widely accumulating in the scientific literature, the actual levels of exposure and the potential effects on the human body are unknown, as the data concerning the presence of nanoplastics are scarce and acquaintance does not exist on their effects.

Aware that, with the current knowledge, centuries are needed joining the “zero” goal for human exposure to micro and nanoplastics, we can instead pursue a more realistic objective such as the minimization of these products in the food chain, in addition to the acquisition of knowledge about the real risk for human health. Indeed, despite the long exposure to micro and nanoplastics has not generated reliable data on their danger, the lessons of the past about hazardous materials teach us that “no evidence of harm” is not the same as “evidence of no harm”.

Beside representing a model of study to produce information that can be extrapolated to identify any risk threshold, the farmed fish species may be utilized to study how to minimize the risk of contamination.

In the presentation, the possibility of controlling fish diets through an accurate choice of the raw materials used to produce feeds is discussed, in order to minimize the presence of micro and nanoplastics in the farmed seafoodthat join our table.

1Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, DBSV, Varese
2Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, ISPA, Grugliasco (TO)
3Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Milano
4Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d’Aosta, Torino

Curriculum Vitae