The combined effect of microplastics and pharmaceuticals on aquatic organisms is an issue of concern. In this laboratory study, we evaluated the combined effect of polystyrene microplastics (2-μm diameter) and diazepam on the social behavior of medaka (Oryzias latipes) by using the shoaling behavior test with five treatment groups: solvent control, polystyrene microplastics exposure (0.04 mg/L), low-concentration diazepam exposure (0.03 mg/L), high-concentration diazepam exposure (0.3 mg/L), and polystyrene microplastics and low-concentration diazepam co-exposure. After 7 days of exposure, the shoal-leaving behavior of the high-concentration diazepam exposure group (8.9 ± 8.3 counts/medaka) and the co-exposure group (6.8 ± 6.7 counts/medaka) was significantly greater than that in the solvent control group (1.8 ± 2.6 counts/medaka). Even after 5 days of recovery, medaka in the co-exposure group left the shoal more often (7.3 ± 5.0 counts/medaka) than those in the solvent control group (2.6 ± 2.6 counts/medaka), whereas the shoal-leaving behavior in other exposure groups, except for the high-concentration diazepam exposure group, was restored. Our findings show that the combined effects of diazepam and polystyrene microplastics suppressed medaka social behavior, suggesting that the presence of microplastics can enhance the adverse effects of pollutants on the social behavior of aquatic organisms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis