Plastic pollution has been a growing environmental concern for decades, increasingly affecting both marine and freshwater ecosystems worldwide. Nano-sized plastic particles (NPs) potentially have various toxicological impacts on aquatic organisms and the ecosystem; however, less is known about their possible adverse effects on the reproductive biology and offspring traits of fishes. The present study investigated whether an acute exposure of gametes to aged NPs during fertilization affects offspring early mortality, hatching time, body size at hatching or swimming performance of larvae in a common freshwater fish, the European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus). Using a replicated full-factorial breeding design, we fertilized the eggs of seven females with the milt of seven males both under exposure medium containing aged 270 nm polystyrene NPs and under control medium. In comparison with the control group, exposure of gametes to NPs increased larval body length slightly but significantly, whereas the embryo mortality, hatching time, and larval swimming performance were not affected. Maternal identity affected significantly all the studied offspring traits while paternal identity only affected the offspring length. Our results suggest that the studied acute exposure of gametes to aged NPs might have interfered normal embryonic development by affecting larval size, but this did not seemingly compromise offspring performance.
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