Environmental occurrence and ecotoxicity of aquaculture-derived plastic leachates

J Hazard Mater. 2023 Sep 15:458:132015. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2023.132015. Epub 2023 Jul 8.


Plastic products such as fishing nets and foam buoys have been widely used in aquaculture. To enhance the desirable characteristics of the final equipment, plastic gear for aquaculture is mixed with a wide range of additives. Recent studies have shown that additives could be leached out to the environment with a long-term use of aquaculture plastics, forming aquaculture-derived plastic leachates. It should be emphasized that some leachates such as phthalic acid esters (PAEs) and organophosphate esters (OPEs) are endocrine disruptors, which could increase the exposure risk of aquatic products and subsequently display potential threats to human health via food chain. However, systematic studies on the release, occurrence, bioaccumulation, and toxic effects of aquaculture-derived plastic leachates are missing, overlooking their potential sources and ecotoxicological risks in aquatic environments. We have reviewed and compared the concentrations of major plastic leachates in the water environment and organisms of global aquaculture and non-farmed areas, confirming that aquaculture leachate is an important source of contaminants in the environment. Moreover, the toxic effects of aquaculture-derived plastic additives and the related mechanisms are summarized with fish as a representative, revealing their potential health risk. In addition, we proposed current challenges and future research needs, which provides scientific guidance for the use and management of plastic products in aquaculture industries.

Keywords: Aquaculture; Enrichment; Fish; Plastic additives; Pollution; Toxicity.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaculture
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Esters
  • Humans
  • Plastics* / toxicity
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis


  • Plastics
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Esters