Synthetic microplastics (≤5-mm fragments) are emerging environmental contaminants that have been found to accumulate within coastal marine sediments worldwide. The ecological impacts and fate of microplastic debris are only beginning to be revealed, with previous research into these topics having primarily focused on higher organisms and/or pelagic environments. Despite recent research into plastic-associated microorganisms in seawater, the microbial colonization of microplastics in benthic habitats has not been studied. Therefore, we employed a 14-day microcosm experiment to investigate bacterial colonization of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) microplastics within three types of coastal marine sediment from Spurn Point, Humber Estuary, U.K.
Jesse P Harrison, Michaela Schratzberger, Melanie Sapp and A Mark Osborn, BMC Microbiology, Vol. 14 (232), 15 pages, September 2014