Bacterial Candidates for Colonization and Degradation of Marine Plastic Debris

Line Roager, Eva C. Sonnenschein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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With the rising plastic pollution in the oceans, research on the plastisphere-the microorganisms interacting with marine plastic debris-has emerged. Microbial communities colonizing plastic have been characterized from several ocean regions and they are distinct from the communities of the surrounding waters, and a few plastic-degrading microorganisms have been isolated from other environments. Therefore, we propose that marine microorganisms have adapted to plastic as a surface for colonization and potentially degradation. When comparing the taxonomic patterns of plastic-associated, marine bacteria, recurring groups and families such as the families Erythrobacteraceae and Rhodobacteraceae (Alphaproteobacteria), Flavobacteriaceae (Bacteriodetes), and the phylum of cyanobacteria (such as the Phormidium genus) can be identified. Thereby, we provide a perspective on which bacterial candidates could play a role in the colonization and possible degradation of plastic in the oceans due to their occurrence on marine plastic debris. We emphasize the need for extended and reproducible collection of data to assess the existence of a core microbiome or core functionalities of the plastisphere and confirm the capability of these bacterial candidates for biodegradation of plastic. Furthermore, we suggest the next steps in research to elucidate the level of natural bioremediation and the exploitation of bacterial degradative mechanisms of plastic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number20
Pages (from-to)11636-11643
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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