Consequential fate of bisphenol-attached PVC microplastics in water and simulated intestinal fluids

Pengfei Wu, Yuanyuan Tang*, Hangbiao Jin, Yuanyuan Song, Yunsong Liu, Zongwei Cai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


The ever-increasing prevalence of microplastics and different bisphenols made the presence of bisphenol-attached microplastics a critical concern. In this study, experiments were performed to examine desorption behaviors and cytotoxicity performance of contaminated microplastics in aquatic surroundings and intestinal environment after ingestion by organisms (cold-/warm-blooded). The kinetic study shows that the rate of desorption for bisphenols can be enhanced threefold under simulated warm intestinal conditions. The Freundlich isotherms indicate multiple-layer desorption of the bisphenols on the heterogeneous surfaces of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) microplastics. Hysteresis was detected in the adsorption/desorption of bisphenols in a water environment, but no adsorption/desorption hysteresis was observed in the simulated intestinal conditions of warm-blooded organisms. Due to enhanced bioaccessibility, the desorption results imply that the environmental risk of contaminated PVC microplastics may be significantly increased after ingestion at a high bisphenols dosage. Although with different IC50, the five bisphenols released under the intestinal conditions of warm-blooded organisms can cause higher proliferation reduction in fish and human cell lines than the bisphenols released in water. This study helps elucidate the consequential fate and potential cytotoxicity of contaminated microplastics and the possible implications of the microplastics as a critical vector for bisphenols to increase the potential health risks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100027
JournalEnvironmental Science and Ecotechnology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bioaccessibility
  • Bisphenols
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Desorption behavior
  • Microplastics


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