"The Good, the Bad and the Double-Sword" Effects of Microplastics and Their Organic Additives in Marine Bacteria

Fernandez-Juarez, Victor; Lopez-Alforja, Xabier; Frank-Comas, Aida; Echeveste, Pedro; Bennasar-Figueras, Antoni; Ramis-Munar, Guillem; Gomila, Rosa Maria; Agawin, Nona S. R.

Abstract

Little is known about the direct effects of microplastics (MPs) and their organic additives on marine bacteria, considering their role in the nutrient cycles, e.g., N-cycles through the N-2-fixation, or in the microbial food web. To fill this gap of knowledge, we exposed marine bacteria, specifically diazotrophs, to pure MPs which differ in physical properties (e.g., density, hydrophobicity, and/or size), namely, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride and polystyrene, and to their most abundant associated organic additives (e.g., fluoranthene, 1,2,5,6,9,10-hexabromocyclododecane and dioctyl-phthalate). Growth, protein overproduction, direct physical interactions between MPs and bacteria, phosphorus acquisition mechanisms and/or N-2-fixation rates were evaluated. Cyanobacteria were positively affected by environmental and high concentrations of MPs, as opposed to heterotrophic strains, that were only positively affected with high concentrations of similar to 120 mu m-size MPs (detecting the overproduction of proteins related to plastic degradation and C-transport), and negatively affected by 1 mu m-size PS beads. Generally, the organic additives had a deleterious effect in both autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria and the magnitude of the effect is suggested to be dependent on bacterial size. Our results show species-specific responses of the autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria tested and the responses (beneficial: the "good," deleterious: the "bad" and/or both: the "double-sword") were dependent on the type and concentration of MPs and additives. This suggests the need to determine the threshold levels of MPs and additives concentrations starting from which significant effects can be observed for key microbial populations in marine systems, and these data are necessary for effective environmental quality control management.

Más información

Título según WOS: "The Good, the Bad and the Double-Sword" Effects of Microplastics and Their Organic Additives in Marine Bacteria
Título de la Revista: FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY
Volumen: 11
Editorial: Frontiers
Fecha de publicación: 2021
DOI:

10.3389/fmicb.2020.581118

Notas: ISI