Ability of Degraded Plastic to Stimulate Aquatic Webs Reported

The abstract of a July 26, 2022 Nature Communications article https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-31691-9 by researchers with UK University of Cambridge and Germany University of Oldenburg reports that “… Abiotic and biotic degradation of plastics releases carbon-based substrates that are available for heterotrophic growth, but little is known about how these novel organic compounds influence microbial metabolism. Here we found leachate from plastic shopping bags was chemically distinct and more bioavailable than natural organic matter from 29 Scandinavian lakes. Consequently, plastic leachate increased bacterial biomass acquisition … when added at an environmentally-relevant concentration to lake surface waters … Bacterial growth was 1.72-times more efficient with plastic leachate because the added carbon was more accessible than natural organic matter … our results suggest that plastic pollution may stimulate aquatic food webs and highlight where pollution mitigation strategies could be most effective …” #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic @Cambridge_Uni