Plastic debris dispersed into the environment provide a substrate for microbial colonization, constituting a new human-made ecosystem called "plastisphere", and altering the microbial species distribution in aquatic, coastal and benthic ecosystems. The study aims at exploring the interaction among microplastics (MPs) made of different polymers, a persistent organic contaminant (polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs), and the environmental microbial communities, in an anoxic marine sediment. Plastic pellets were incubated in the field in a salt marsh anoxic sediment, to observe the stages of plastisphere formation, by quantitative PCR and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and PCB dechlorination activity on the MPs surface. Microbes from the sediment rapidly colonized the different microplastics types, with PVC recruiting a peculiar community enriched in sulfate-reducing bacteria. The composition of the plastisphere varied along the 1-year incubation possibly in response either to warmer temperatures in spring-summer or to microhabitat's changes due to the progressive plastic surface weathering. Even if PCB contaminated MPs were able to recruit potentially dehalogenating taxa, actual dechlorination was not detectable after 1 year. This suggests that the concentration of potentially dehalorespiring bacteria in the natural environment could be too low for the onset of the dechlorination process on MP-sorbed contaminants. Our study, which is among very few available longitudinally exploring the plastisphere composition in an anoxic sediment context, is the first exploring the fate and possible biodegradation of persistent organic pollutants sorbed on MPs reaching the seafloor.

Bacterial colonization dynamics of different microplastic types in an anoxic salt marsh sediment and impact of adsorbed polychlorinated biphenyls on the plastisphere

Rosato, Antonella;Barone, Monica
Co-primo
;
Negroni, Andrea;Brigidi, Patrizia;Fava, Fabio;Biagi, Elena;Candela, Marco;Zanaroli, Giulio
2022

Abstract

Plastic debris dispersed into the environment provide a substrate for microbial colonization, constituting a new human-made ecosystem called "plastisphere", and altering the microbial species distribution in aquatic, coastal and benthic ecosystems. The study aims at exploring the interaction among microplastics (MPs) made of different polymers, a persistent organic contaminant (polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs), and the environmental microbial communities, in an anoxic marine sediment. Plastic pellets were incubated in the field in a salt marsh anoxic sediment, to observe the stages of plastisphere formation, by quantitative PCR and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and PCB dechlorination activity on the MPs surface. Microbes from the sediment rapidly colonized the different microplastics types, with PVC recruiting a peculiar community enriched in sulfate-reducing bacteria. The composition of the plastisphere varied along the 1-year incubation possibly in response either to warmer temperatures in spring-summer or to microhabitat's changes due to the progressive plastic surface weathering. Even if PCB contaminated MPs were able to recruit potentially dehalogenating taxa, actual dechlorination was not detectable after 1 year. This suggests that the concentration of potentially dehalorespiring bacteria in the natural environment could be too low for the onset of the dechlorination process on MP-sorbed contaminants. Our study, which is among very few available longitudinally exploring the plastisphere composition in an anoxic sediment context, is the first exploring the fate and possible biodegradation of persistent organic pollutants sorbed on MPs reaching the seafloor.
Rosato, Antonella; Barone, Monica; Negroni, Andrea; Brigidi, Patrizia; Fava, Fabio; Biagi, Elena; Candela, Marco; Zanaroli, Giulio
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/897566
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