Microbes Thriving on Plastic Ocean Pollution

July 18, 2013 · Print This Article

From the Great Pacific rubbish patch to more disperse bits of trash, immense amounts of plastic and other rubbish continue to amass in the ocean. However, some of that plastic pollution is harboring life. Scientists have discovered colonies of microbes thriving on tiny fragments of plastic floating in the open ocean. The team of scientists studying these new ocean habitats–called the “plastisphere”–collected marine plastic debris using

fine-scale nets at locations in the North Atlantic Ocean. They discovered at least 1000 kinds of bacterial cells, forming a variety of complex microscopic communities.

Many microbial species on the debris samples remain unidentified, and identifying the microbes present isn’t the only task at hand. As Science Daily reports, scientist Linda Amaral-Zettler says, “We’re not just interested in who’s there. We’re interested in […]

[Source] Cynthia

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