According to the latest international research, plastic may pollute or promote the growth of bacteria in the lake

  • 2022-10-28

This paper introduces that fresh water is widely polluted by plastic wastes. The decomposition of plastics will release compounds, which may provide energy for the growth of bacteria, or damage the growth of bacteria due to its toxicity. However, the effects of these compounds on bacterial metabolism and growth rate have not been well understood. 

The co corresponding authors of the paper, Eleanor Sheridan and Andrew Tanentzap of the University of Cambridge, UK, cooperated with their colleagues. They used ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry to examine the compounds leached from low-density polyethylene plastic bags (LDPE, the most common plastic in fresh water), and the organic matter in 29 Scandinavian lake water samples. They found that the chemical composition of compounds dissolved from plastic is different. Compared with natural organic matter, it is easier to be used by bacteria as a carbon source. The availability of carbon increased, and the growth of bacteria increased by 1.72 times. They mentioned that the growth rate depends on both the diversity of bacteria and the characteristics of natural organic matter in the lake. 

The authors also warned that their research focused entirely on bacteria and did not consider the impact of plastics on other microorganisms, such as microalgae and fungi. However, they believe that some bacterial groups, such as Deinococcus and Hymenobacter, which naturally grow in the lake water environment, may be particularly suitable for removing compounds produced by plastics, which may contribute to future pollution mitigation strategies.

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