Phthalates are the most common plasticizer compounds worldwide, providing flexibility to a wide array of plastic products. The inadequate disposal of these chemical residues causes their absorption and accumulation by plant species in contaminated environments. The absorption and accumulation of phthalates in the mangrove species Avicennia schaueriana (Acanthaceae) were monitored over one year. A total of 30 fresh and dried leaf extract samples were collected through the “serapilheira system”, in the Guaratiba Biological Reserve in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in three different regions of the Guaratiba mangrove forest: A (fringe), C (basin), and E (transition). Samples were analyzed by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Bis-tridecyl phthalate was the main contaminant detected, and bis- isobutyl phthalate and bis-2-ethylhexyl phthalate were the major metabolites of the butanolic fraction obtained from the liquid-liquid partition of the ethanolic leaf extract. The observed chemical profile was rich in secondary metabolites, predominantly lupeol and 𝛼-amyrin. Exposure to these contaminants presents several risks to human health. This is the first work to confirm how the mangrove pollution process, through the accumulation of plastic contaminants in sediments and water, can directly affect the plant species and their biosynthesis.
Catharina Eccard Fingolo is professor in the Pharmacy Course and Postgraduate Program in Environmental Science and Technology at the Centro Universitário Estadual da Zona Oeste – UEZO, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She works with environmental sciences, with emphasis on environmental contaminants of mangrove ecosystem, analysis of chemical markers, and biological activities of the mangrove species: Avicennia schaueriana, Laguncularia racemosa, and Rhizophora mangle. She has doctorate degree in Chemistry of Natural Products and master degree in Plant Biotechnology from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.