Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: doi:10.22028/D291-38916
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Title: Microplastics destabilize lipid membranes by mechanical stretching
Author(s): Fleury, Jean-Baptiste
Baulin, Vladimir A.
Language: English
Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Volume: 118
Issue: 31
Publisher/Platform: National Academy of Sciences
Year of Publication: 2021
Free key words: microplastic
mechanical stress
model cell membrane
DDC notations: 500 Science
Publikation type: Journal Article
Abstract: Estimated millions of tons of plastic are dumped annually into oceans. Plastic has been produced only for 70 y, but the exponential rise of mass production leads to its widespread proliferation in all environments. As a consequence of their large abundance globally, microplastics are also found in many living organisms including humans. While the health impact of digested microplastics on living organisms is debatable, we reveal a physical mechanism of mechanical stretching of model cell lipid membranes induced by adsorbed micrometer-sized microplastic particles most commonly found in oceans. Combining experimental and theoretical approaches, we demonstrate that microplastic particles adsorbed on lipid membranes considerably increase membrane tension even at low particle concentrations. Each particle adsorbed at the membrane consumes surface area that is proportional to the contact area between particle and the membrane. Although lipid membranes are liquid and able to accommodate mechanical stress, the relaxation time is much slower than the rate of adsorption; thus, the cumulative effect from arriving microplastic particles to the membrane leads to the global reduction of the membrane area and increase of membrane tension. This, in turn, leads to a strong reduction of membrane lifetime. The effect of mechanical stretching of microplastics on living cells membranes was demonstrated by using the aspiration micropipette technique on red blood cells. The described mechanical stretching mechanism on lipid bilayers may provide better understanding of the impact of microplastic particles in living systems.
DOI of the first publication: 10.1073/pnas.2104610118
URL of the first publication:
Link to this record: urn:nbn:de:bsz:291--ds-389160
ISSN: 1091-6490
Date of registration: 6-Feb-2023
Description of the related object: Supporting Information
Related object:
Faculty: NT - Naturwissenschaftlich- Technische Fakultät
Department: NT - Physik
Professorship: NT - Prof. Dr. Ralf Seemann
Collections:SciDok - Der Wissenschaftsserver der Universität des Saarlandes

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