Mr. CHAN Hing Sang Hamsun Department of Earth Sciences, HKU
Improper disposal of plastic led to the accumulation of plastic in the marine environment, providing an anthropogenic substrate surface for microorganisms to colonize, forming unique and densely populated communities known as “plastisphere”. However, the metabolic functioning of the plastisphere is largely unexplored, and attempts to predict microbial function based on related cultivated species have proven limited. This study tested the hypotheses that microorganisms on marine plastic supports biofilm formation and plastic degradation, and that plastic type, location, and season can influence community compositions. Plastic coupons were deployed in Hong Kong coastal waters to recruit plastic biofilms, which were analyzed using high-throughput DNA sequencing. This study found that polymer type is only one of many factors contributing to the microbial composition of the plastisphere. The study also identified the biosynthesis of non-ribosomal peptide in plastic-associated microorganisms and revealed the peripheral role of plastic degradation in Oleiphilaceae. These findings improve our understanding of the marine plastisphere and the impact of plastic pollution on marine microbial ecology and biogeochemical cycles.
Additional information: Mr. Hamsun CHAN, email@example.com