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Impacts of Biofilm Formation on the Fate and Potential Effects of Microplastic in the Aquatic Environment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
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Number of Authors: 5
2017 (English)In: Environmental Science and Technology Letters, ISSN 2328-8930, Vol. 4, no 7, 258-267 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the aquatic environment, microplastic (MP; <5 mm) is a cause of concern because of its persistence and potential adverse effects on biota. Studies of microlitter impacts are mostly based on virgin and spherical polymer particles as model MP. However, in pelagic and benthic environments, surfaces are always colonized by microorganisms forming so-called biofilms. The influence of such biofilms on the fate and potential effects of MP is not understood well. Here, we review the physical interactions of early microbial colonization on plastic surfaces and their reciprocal influence on the weathering processes and vertical transport as well as sorption and release of contaminants by MP. Possible ecological consequences of biofilm formation on MP, such as trophic transfer of MP particles and potential adverse effects of MP, are virtually unknown. However, evidence is accumulating that the biofilm-plastic interactions have the capacity to influence the fate and impacts of MP by modifying the physical properties of the particles. There is an urgent research need to better understand these interactions and increase the ecological relevance of current laboratory testing by simulating field conditions in which microbial life is a key driver of biogeochemical processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 4, no 7, 258-267 p.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145814DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.7b00164ISI: 000405543600002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145814DiVA: diva2:1136796
Available from: 2017-08-29 Created: 2017-08-29 Last updated: 2017-08-29Bibliographically approved

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