Marine microbes are eating plastics

The news item was reported in Science. I wrote about the possibility earlier, but, there, WHOI scientists had not confirmed that microbes were actually consuming plastics. This has been suspected since 2011, due to the work of WHOI scientist Dr Tracy John Mincer studying biofilms on plastics in oceans.

This has been suspected and, until recently, unconfirmed, because the mass balance of plastics entering the oceans greatly exceeds estimates of plastic mass in oceans based upon sampling. There is going to be a multi-day scientific workshop at WHOI addressing these questions. The process by which microbes degrade plastics — essentially using them for food — is still being studied.

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This entry was posted in adaptation, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Anthropocene, basic research, ecological services, ecomodernism, ecopragmatism, environment, marine biology, marine debris, materials science, microbiomes, microplastics, oceans, plastics, quantitative biology, quantitative ecology, WHOI, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Bookmark the permalink.

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