A blog set out to explore, archive & relate plastic pollution happening world-wide, while learning about on-going efforts and solutions to help break free of our addiction to single-use plastics & sharing this awareness with a community of clean water lovers everywhere!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Marine microbes 'eat' plastic pollution

Published June 30, 2014 in the Herald Sun by 

COLONIES of microbes seem to be "eating" plastic pollution floating on the surface of the ocean, according to researchers from the University of Western Australia. 
 Plastic eating marine microbes could provide better solutions for waste disposal practices on land.

THE research by PhD candidate Julia Reisser and colleagues was the first to document biological communities living on sand-sized pieces of plastic in Australian waters. It has been published in the international science journal PLOS One.

Using a scanning electron microscope, researchers examined the samples - tiny broken down discarded items such as food packaging and fishing gear - and could see microbes "eating" the plastic.

"The good news is that some of the plastic inhabitants may decrease plastic pollution at the sea surface, where major environmental impacts occur," the university said in a statement.

Study co-author Jeremy Shaw said large numbers of silica-forming algae weighed down their plastic host, potentially causing tiny pieces to sink to the bottom of the ocean. "Plastic biodegredation seems to happen at sea," Ms Reisser said.

 "I am excited about this because the `plastic eating' microbes could provide better solutions for waste disposal practices on land." Originally published as Marine microbes 'eat' plastic pollution

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