Microplastic surface properties affect bacterial colonization in freshwater. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Microplastic surface properties affect bacterial colonization in freshwater.
J Basic Microbiol. 2018 Oct 29. Epub 2018 Oct 29. PMID: 30370668
Mohammed R Hossain
Microplastics are a global concern in aquatic ecology and are readily colonized by bacteria in the environment. There is a lack of information on bacterial colonization of eroded and un-eroded microplastics in freshwater. In this study, six types of microplastics were incubated for 8 weeks in microcosms with water from Lake Erie. Microcosms were inoculated with one of three species: Acinetobacter (A.) calcoaceticus, Burkholderia (B.) cepacia, and Escherichia (E.) coli. These bacterial species are ubiquitous in water bodies associated with human populations. Bacterial surface coverage was determined using electron and fluorescent microscopy. Quantifications of EPS and surface roughness were performed by confocal microscopy and measuring contact angles (θ) of water droplets on microplastics, respectively. Analyses revealed surface coverage differed among bacterial species and plastic types after 8 weeks. As the study progressed, E. coli remained the most abundant while A. calcoaceticus gradually decreased on most surfaces. Analyses of microcosms revealed polypropylene disks had lower bacterial abundance. Conversely, eroded polypropylene disks had highest bacterial abundance, indicating importance of surface roughness (lowerθvalues) and surface physicochemical properties of microplastics in bacterial colonization. Our results demonstrated that bacterial colonization of microplastics is affected by both the physicochemical properties of microplastics and the physiological properties of colonizing bacteria.