Microplastics – Global Potential of Microorganisms to Degrade Plastics Explored

The abstract of an October 26, 2021 ASM Microbial Ecology article https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02155-21 by researchers with the Sweden Chalmers University of Technology and others reports that “... the global diversity of plastic-degrading enzymes remains poorly understood … we constructed hidden Markov models from experimentally verified enzymes and mined ocean and soil metagenomes to assess the global potential of microorganisms to degrade plastics ... we compiled a catalogue of over 30,000 nonredundant enzyme homologues with the potential to degrade 10 different plastic types … we find that ocean enzyme abundance increases with depth as a response to plastic pollution and not merely taxonomic composition … we observed that the abundance of the uncovered enzymes in both ocean and soil habitats significantly correlates with marine and country-specific plastic pollution trends. Our study thus uncovers the earth microbiome's potential to degrade plastics, providing evidence of a measurable effect of plastic pollution on the global microbial ecology as well as a useful resource for further applied research …” #MicroPlastics #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic @chalmersuniv