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Sci Total Environ. 2018 Oct 1;637-638:1279-1285. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.108. Epub 2018 May 22.

Impact of inorganic UV filters contained in sunscreen products on tropical stony corals (Acropora spp.).

Author information

1
Dipartimento di Scienze e Ingegneria della Materia, dell'Ambiente ed Urbanistica, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, Ancona, Italy. Electronic address: c.corinaldesi@univpm.it.
2
Ecoreach Ltd, Corso Stamira 61, 60121 Ancona, Italy.
3
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, Ancona, Italy.
4
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, Ancona, Italy; Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, Naples, Italy.

Abstract

Most coral reefs worldwide are threatened by natural and anthropogenic impacts. Among them, the release in seawater of sunscreen products commonly used by tourists to protect their skin against the harmful effects of UV radiations, can affect tropical corals causing extensive and rapid bleaching. The use of inorganic (mineral) filters, such as zinc and titanium dioxide (ZnO and TiO2) is increasing due to their broad UV protection spectrum and their limited penetration into the skin. In the present study, we evaluated through laboratory experiments, the impact on the corals Acropora spp. of uncoated ZnO nanoparticles and two modified forms of TiO2 (Eusolex®T2000 and Optisol™), largely utilized in commercial sunscreens together with organic filters. Our results demonstrate that uncoated ZnO induces a severe and fast coral bleaching due to the alteration of the symbiosis between coral and zooxanthellae. ZnO also directly affects symbiotic dinoflagellates and stimulates microbial enrichment in the seawater surrounding the corals. Conversely, Eusolex® T2000 and Optisol™ caused minimal alterations in the symbiotic interactions and did not cause bleaching, resulting more eco-compatible than ZnO. Due to the vulnerability of coral reefs to anthropogenic impacts and global change, our findings underline the need to accurately evaluate the effect of commercial filters on stony corals to minimize or avoid this additional source of impact to the life and resilience ability of coral reefs.

KEYWORDS:

Coral bleaching; Inorganic filters; Sunscreens; Titanium dioxide; Zinc oxide

PMID:
29801220
DOI:
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.108
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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