Bacterial colonization on different microplastics in a local stream in Northeast Ohio

First Author's Department

Biological Sciences

Second Author's Department

Biological Sciences



Document Type



Research was performed to understand bacterial colonization on different types of microplastics in a local stream in Northeast Ohio. Disks were placed in bags constructed mesh fabric with 1000 µm diameter. Sampling was done at various intervals to determine early and late colonizers within bacterial communities on microplastics in freshwater. Microplastics (diameters <5mm) are a global concern in environmental sciences and are readily colonized by bacteria in the environment. The term "plastisphere" has been used to describe bacterial communities residing on microplastics. The composition of the communities inside the plastisphere has been affected by the physicochemical properties of different microplastic types. Plastics have variations in physicochemical properties based on their intended applications. For example, polyethylene (PE) has a net negative charge while polypropylene (PP) has a net neutral charge at the pH of seawater. Subsequently, DNA was extracted from microbes adhering to disks and the plastisphere community composition will be determined from the V6 hypervariable region of 16S rDNA using 16S MiSeq 250 sequencing. Sampled disks will also be analyzed for differences in surface roughness, buoyancy, and weight after bacterial colonization. As the study progressed, microplastic disks broke down and had increased surface roughness.