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Publication . Article . 2018

Polystyrene microplastics increase microbial release of marine Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter in microcosm experiments

Luisa Galgani; Anja Engel; Claudio Rossi; Alessandro Donati; Steven Loiselle;
Open Access
Published: 02 Oct 2018 Journal: Scientific Reports (issn: 2045-2322, Copyright policy )

AbstractAbout 5 trillion plastic particles are present in our oceans, from the macro to the micro size. Like any other aquatic particulate, plastics and microplastics can create a micro-environment, within which microbial and chemical conditions differ significantly from the surrounding water. Despite the high and increasing abundance of microplastics in the ocean, their influence on the transformation and composition of marine organic matter is largely unknown. Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) is the photo-reactive fraction of the marine dissolved organic matter (DOM) pool. Changes in CDOM quality and quantity have impacts on marine microbial dynamics and the underwater light environment. One major source of CDOM is produced by marine bacteria through their alteration of pre-existing DOM substrates. In a series of microcosm experiments in controlled marine conditions, we explored the impact of microplastics on the quality and quantity of microbial CDOM. In the presence of microplastics we observed an increased production of CDOM with changes in its molecular weight, which resulted from either an increased microbial CDOM production or an enhanced transformation of DOM from lower to higher molecular weight CDOM. Our results point to the possibility that marine microplastics act as localized hot spots for microbial activity, with the potential to influence marine carbon dynamics.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Carbon chemistry.chemical_element chemistry Organic matter chemistry.chemical_classification Colored dissolved organic matter Dissolved organic carbon Microcosm Environmental chemistry Particulates Microplastics Marine bacteriophage

Library of Congress Subject Headings: lcsh:Medicine lcsh:R lcsh:Science lcsh:Q


Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter (CDOM), Underwater Light Environment, Molecular Weight CDOM, Plastic Particles, CDOM Absorption, Multidisciplinary, Carbon, Diatoms, Oceans and Seas, Plastics, Polystyrenes, Water, Water Microbiology, Article

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Funded by
Photochemistry at the Ocean's Surface: Effects and Interactions of Dissolved Organic Matter with Microplastics
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 702747
  • Funding stream: H2020 | MSCA-IF-EF-RI
Validated by funder
Related to Research communities
European Marine Science Marine Environmental Science : Photochemistry at the Ocean's Surface: Effects and Interactions of Dissolved Organic Matter with Microplastics
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