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The plastisphere in marine ecosystem hosts potential specific microbial degraders including Alcanivorax borkumensis as a key player for the low-density polyethylene degradation

Delacuvellerie, Alice, Cyriaque, Valentine, Gobert, Sylvie, Benali, Samira, Wattiez, Ruddy
Journal of hazardous materials 2019 v.380 pp. 120899
Alcanivorax borkumensis, Bacteroidetes, Marinobacter, bacteria, bacterial communities, biofilm, carbon, community structure, hosts, landfills, marine ecosystems, microbiome, petroleum, polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalates, polystyrenes, ribosomal RNA, sediments, Mediterranean Sea
Most plastics are released to the environment in landfills and around 32% end up in the sea, inducing large ecological and health impacts. The plastics constitute a physical substrate and potential carbon source for microorganisms. The present study compares the structures of bacterial communities from floating plastics, sediment-associated plastics and sediments from the Mediterranean Sea. The 16S rRNA microbiome profiles of surface and sediment plastic-associated microbial biofilms from the same geographic location differ significantly, with the omnipresence of Bacteroidetes and Gammaproteobacteria. Our research confirmed that plastisphere hosts microbial communities were environmental distinct niche. In parallel, this study used environmental samples to investigate the enrichment of potential plastic-degrading bacteria with Low Density PolyEthylene (LDPE), PolyEthylene Terephthalate (PET) and PolyStyrene (PS) plastics as the sole carbon source. In this context, we showed that the bacterial community composition is clearly plastic nature dependent. Hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria such as Alcanivorax, Marinobacter and Arenibacter genera are enriched with LDPE and PET, implying that these bacteria are potential players in plastic degradation. Finally, our data showed for the first time the ability of Alcanivorax borkumensis to form thick biofilms specifically on LDPE and to degrade this petroleum-based plastic.