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Article

Structural Diversity in Early-Stage Biofilm Formation on Microplastics Depends on Environmental Medium and Polymer Properties

1
Animal Ecology I, University of Bayreuth, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
2
Institut für Physikalische Chemie und Physik der Polymere, Leibniz Institut für Polymerfoschung Dresden e.V., 01069 Dresden, Germany
3
Ecological Microbiology, University of Bayreuth, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
4
Biological Physics, University of Bayreuth, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(11), 3216; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113216
Received: 30 September 2020 / Revised: 5 November 2020 / Accepted: 13 November 2020 / Published: 17 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplastics in Aquatic Environments and Wastewater Treatment )
Plastics entering the environment can not only undergo physical degradation and fragmentation processes, but they also tend to be colonized by microorganisms. Microbial colonization and the subsequent biofilm formation on plastics can alter their palatability to organisms and result in a higher ingestion as compared to pristine plastics. To date, the early stage of biofilm formation on plastic materials has not been investigated in context of the environmental medium and polymer properties. We explored the early-stage biofilm formation on polyamide (PA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) after incubation in freshwater and artificial seawater and categorized the structural diversity on images obtained via scanning electron microscopy. Furthermore, by the measurement of the initial ζ-potential of the plastic materials, we found that PA with the highest negative ζ-potential tended to have the highest structural diversity, followed by PET and PVC after incubation in freshwater. However, PVC with the lowest negative ζ-potential showed the highest structural diversity after incubation in seawater, indicating that the structural diversity is additionally dependent on the incubation medium. Our results give insights into how the incubation medium and polymer properties can influence the early-stage biofilm formation of just recently environmentally exposed microplastics. These differences are responsible for whether organisms may ingest microplastic particles with their food or not. View Full-Text
Keywords: microplastic; plastic; biofilm; SEM; ζ-potential; EPS microplastic; plastic; biofilm; SEM; ζ-potential; EPS
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ramsperger, A.F.R.M.; Stellwag, A.C.; Caspari, A.; Fery, A.; Lueders, T.; Kress, H.; Löder, M.G.J.; Laforsch, C. Structural Diversity in Early-Stage Biofilm Formation on Microplastics Depends on Environmental Medium and Polymer Properties. Water 2020, 12, 3216. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113216

AMA Style

Ramsperger AFRM, Stellwag AC, Caspari A, Fery A, Lueders T, Kress H, Löder MGJ, Laforsch C. Structural Diversity in Early-Stage Biofilm Formation on Microplastics Depends on Environmental Medium and Polymer Properties. Water. 2020; 12(11):3216. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113216

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ramsperger, Anja F.R.M., Anja C. Stellwag, Anja Caspari, Andreas Fery, Tillmann Lueders, Holger Kress, Martin G.J. Löder, and Christian Laforsch. 2020. "Structural Diversity in Early-Stage Biofilm Formation on Microplastics Depends on Environmental Medium and Polymer Properties" Water 12, no. 11: 3216. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113216

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