Rapid bacterial colonization of low-density polyethylene microplastics in coastal sediment microcosms

Harrison, J, Schratzberger, M, Sapp, M and Osborn, A 2014, 'Rapid bacterial colonization of low-density polyethylene microplastics in coastal sediment microcosms', BMC Microbiology, vol. 14, no. 232, pp. 1-15.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Rapid bacterial colonization of low-density polyethylene microplastics in coastal sediment microcosms
Author(s) Harrison, J
Schratzberger, M
Sapp, M
Osborn, A
Year 2014
Journal name BMC Microbiology
Volume number 14
Issue number 232
Start page 1
End page 15
Total pages 15
Publisher BioMed Central
Abstract BACKGROUND: Synthetic microplastics (≤5-mm fragments) are emerging environmental contaminants that have been found to accumulate within coastal marine sediments worldwide. The ecological impacts and fate of microplastic debris are only beginning to be revealed, with previous research into these topics having primarily focused on higher organisms and/or pelagic environments. Despite recent research into plastic-associated microorganisms in seawater, the microbial colonization of microplastics in benthic habitats has not been studied. Therefore, we employed a 14-day microcosm experiment to investigate bacterial colonization of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) microplastics within three types of coastal marine sediment from Spurn Point, Humber Estuary, U.K. RESULTS: Bacterial attachment onto LDPE within sediments was demonstrated by scanning electron microscopy and catalyzed reporter deposition fluorescence in situ hybridisation (CARD-FISH). Log-fold increases in the abundance of 16S rRNA genes from LDPE-associated bacteria occurred within 7 days with 16S rRNA gene numbers on LDPE surfaces differing significantly across sediment types, as shown by quantitative PCR. Terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis demonstrated rapid selection of LDPE-associated bacterial assemblages whose structure and composition differed significantly from those in surrounding sediments. Additionally, T-RFLP analysis revealed successional convergence of the LDPE-associated communities from the different sediments over the 14-day experiment. Sequencing of cloned 16S rRNA genes demonstrated that these communities were dominated after 14 days by the genera Arcobacter and Colwellia (totalling 84-93% of sequences). Attachment by Colwellia spp. onto LDPE within sediments was confirmed by CARD-FISH.
Subject Microbial Ecology
Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Bacteria
Sediment
Microplastics
Succession
Arcobacter
Colwellia
DOI - identifier 10.1186/s12866-014-0232-4
Copyright notice © 2014 Harrison et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
ISSN 1471-2180
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