Biofilms on microplastics differ from those on natural substrates
Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash
What is it about?
Recently, much attention has been focused on microplastics as emerging environmental contaminants. Most of bioassays testing the effects of microplastics involved experiments with animals, whereas we asked a simple question whether bacterial communities colonizing microplastic surfaces differ from those on natural substrates.
Why is it important?
Biofilms are important in aquatic life, mediating interactions between consumers and their food, breakdown of organic material, and biogeochemical cycles. Therefore, fate of microplastics in the food webs and in the environment depends on the microorganisms colonizing these particles. For example, some microorganisms can facilitate degradation of synthetic polymers, and it was expected that such organisms would preferentially colonize the plastic materials (polyethylene, polystyrene, and polypropylene) but not the natural substrates, such as cellulose or clay.
The following have contributed to this page: Dr Martin Ogonowski and Elena Gorokhova
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