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In situ Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Communities on Microplastic Particles in a Small Headwater Stream in Germany

Title data

Weig, Alfons ; Löder, Martin G. J. ; Ramsperger, Anja ; Laforsch, Christian:
In situ Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Communities on Microplastic Particles in a Small Headwater Stream in Germany.
In: Frontiers in Microbiology. Vol. 12 (29 November 2021) . - No. 660024.
ISSN 1664-302X
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2021.660024

Project information

Project title:
Project's official titleProject's id
SFB 1357 Mikroplastik391977956

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Abstract in another language

The ubiquitous use of plastic products in our daily life is often accompanied by improper disposal. The first interactions of plastics with organisms in the environment occur by overgrowth or biofilm formation on the particle surface, which can facilitate the ingestion by animals. In order to elucidate the colonization of plastic particles by prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms in situ, we investigated microbial communities in biofilms on four different polymer types and on mineral particles in a small headwater stream 500 m downstream of a wastewater treatment plant in Germany. Microplastic and mineral particles were exposed to the free-flowing water for 4 weeks in spring and in summer. The microbial composition of the developing biofilm was analyzed by 16S and 18S amplicon sequencing. Despite the expected seasonal differences in the microbial composition of pro- and eukaryotic communities, we repeatedly observed polymer type-specific differentiation in both seasons. The order of polymer type-specific prokaryotic and eukaryotic community distances calculated by Robust Aitchison principal component analysis (PCA) was the same in spring and summer samples. However, the magnitude of the distance differed considerably between polymer types. Prokaryotic communities on polyethylene particles exhibited the most considerable difference to other particles in summer, while eukaryotic communities on polypropylene particles showed the most considerable difference to other spring samples. The most contributing bacterial taxa to the polyethylene-specific differentiation belong to the Planctomycetales, Saccharimonadales, Bryobacterales, uncultured Acidiomicrobia, and Gemmatimonadales. The most remarkable differences in eukaryotic microorganism abundances could be observed in several distinct groups of Ciliophora (ciliates) and Chlorophytes (green algae). Prediction of community functions from taxonomic abundances revealed differences between spring and summer, and – to a lesser extent – also between polymer types and mineral surfaces. Our results show that different microplastic particles were colonized by different biofilm communities. These findings may be used for advanced experimental designs to investigate the role of microorganisms on the fate of microplastic particles in freshwater ecosystems.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: biofilm; prokaryote community; eukaryote community; freshwater stream; microplastic
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I > Chair Animal Ecology I - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit > SFB 1357 - MIKROPLASTIK
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2021 09:31
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 09:47
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/68033