Interactions between microorganisms and marine microplastics: A call for research

Harrison, J, Sapp, M, Schratzberger, M and Osborn, A 2011, 'Interactions between microorganisms and marine microplastics: A call for research', Marine Technology Society Journal, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 12-20.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Interactions between microorganisms and marine microplastics: A call for research
Author(s) Harrison, J
Sapp, M
Schratzberger, M
Osborn, A
Year 2011
Journal name Marine Technology Society Journal
Volume number 45
Issue number 2
Start page 12
End page 20
Total pages 9
Publisher Marine Technology Society
Abstract Synthetic thermoplastics constitute the majority by percentage of anthropogenic debris entering the Earth's oceans. Microplastics (=5-mm fragments) are rapidly emerging pollutants in marine ecosystems that may transport potentially toxic chemicals into macrobial food webs. This commentary evaluates our knowledge concerning the interactions between marine organisms and microplastics and identifies the lack of microbial research into microplastic contamination as a significant knowledge gap. Microorganisms (bacteria, archaea, and picoeukaryotes) in coastal sediments represent a key category of life with reference to understanding and mitigating the potential adverse effects of microplastics due to their role as drivers of the global functioning of the marine biosphere and as putative mediators of the biodegradation of plastic-associated additives, contaminants, or even the plastics themselves. As such, research into the formation, structure, and activities of microplastic-associated microbial biofilms is essential in order to underpin management decisions aimed at safeguarding the ecological integrity of our seas and oceans.
Subject Microbiology not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Biodegradation
Marine
Microorganisms
Microplastics
Sediment
DOI - identifier 10.4031/MTSJ.45.2.2
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ISSN 0025-3324
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