|Title||A community of marine bacteria with potential to biodegrade petroleum-based and biobased microplastics|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Authors||de Villalobos, NFernández, Costa, MClara, Marín-Beltrán, I|
|Year of Publication||2022|
|Journal||Marine Pollution Bulletin|
The biodegradability conditions for both, petroleum-based plastics and bioplastics needs to be evaluated under environmentally realistic conditions. We assessed the biodegradability of low-density polyethylene and biobased polyethylene terephthalate microplastic films by a consortium of marine bacteria during 45 days. Bacterial growth and pH were higher in the samples inoculated with bacteria, compared to the controls. Fourier Infrared spectroscopy-Attenuated Total Reflectance and scanning electron microscopy indicated changes in the chemical functional groups, and the presence of fractures and biofilms in the surface of both plastics exposed to the bacterial community, respectively. The chemical oxygen demand further indicated signs of biodegradation of both polymers. Specific groups of bacteria showed preference for each type of microplastic. Overall, our results show signs of biodegradation, or at least biodeterioration and biofragmentation, of both types of plastics, when subjected to the selected bacterial community. Biobased PET was no more prone to biodegradation than conventional, petroleum-based LDPE.