The hazardous impact of true-to-life PET nanoplastics in Drosophila

Mohamed Alaraby, Aliro Villacorta, Doaa Abass, Alba Hernández*, Ricard Marcos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Plastic pollution is a continuously growing problem that can threaten wildlife and human beings. Environmental plastic waste is degraded into small particles termed micro/ nanoplastics (MNPLs) that, due to their small size, can be easily internalized into the exposed organisms, increasing the risks associated with their exposure. To appropriately determine the associated health risk, it is essential to obtain/test representative MNPLs' environmental samples. To such end, we have obtained NPLs resulting from sanding commercial water polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. These true-to-life PETNPLs were extensively characterized, and their potential hazard impacts were explored using Drosophila melanogaster. To highlight the internalization through the digestive tract and the whole body, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and confocal microscopy were used. In spite of the observed efficient uptake of PETNPLs into symbiotic bacteria, enterocytes, and hemocytes, the exposure failed to reduce flies' survival rates. Nevertheless, PETNPLs exposure disturbed the expression of stress, antioxidant, and DNA repair genes, as well as in those genes involved in the response to physical intestinal damage. Importantly, both oxidative stress and DNA damage induction were markedly increased as a consequence of the exposure to PETNPLs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number160954
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2023


  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Genotoxicity
  • Internalization
  • Oxidative stress
  • PET nanoplastics
  • Microplastics/toxicity
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates
  • Animals
  • Drosophila
  • Humans
  • Plastics/metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'The hazardous impact of true-to-life PET nanoplastics in Drosophila'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this