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Seawater copper content controls biofilm bioaccumulation and microbial community on microplastics

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Djaoudi, K.; Onrubia, J. Angel. T.; Boukra, A.; Guesnay, L.; Portas, A.; Barry-Martinet, R.; Angeletti, B.; Mounier, S.; Lenoble, V.; Briand, J.-F. Seawater Copper Content Controls Biofilm Bioaccumulation and Microbial Community on Microplastics. Science of The Total Environment 2022, 814, 152278. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152278.


The adsorption of trace metals on microplastics (MPs) is affected by the presence of surficial biofilms but their interactions are poorly understood. Here, we present the influence of Cu levels in real seawater (Toulon Bay, NW Mediterranean Sea) on microbial communities and Cu content of the resulting biofilms grown during incubation experiments on high density polyethylene. Two sets of incubation experiments were run with seawater supplied with MPs, sampled in two sites with contrasting Cu levels: Pt12 (most contaminated site) and Pt41P (less contaminated site). For each incubation experiment, 5 treatments were considered differing in Cu concentrations, ranging between 30 and 400 nM and between 6 and 60 nM, for Pt12 and Pt41p, respectively. A control experiment (filtered at 0.2 μm) was run in parallel for each incubation experiment. We observed that, at the time scale of the incubation period, both prokaryotic and eukaryotic richness and diversity were higher in the biofilms formed from the most contaminated site. In addition, we showed that Cu levels are shaping biofilm communities, evidencing co-occurrence patterns between prokaryotes and eukaryotes with diatoms playing a central role. These differences in biofilm formation were reflected in the amount of bioaccumulated Cu per dry weight of MPs, exhibiting higher values in the most contaminated site. Within this site, the increase of Cu seawater content enhanced its bioaccumulation onto MPs until reaching saturation. This study strongly suggests a striking link between seawater copper content, biofilm community shaping and the resulting Cu bioaccumulation onto MPs.


Laboratoire MAPIEM (UR 4323) - https://mapiem.univ-tln.fr/Seawater-copper-content-controls-biofilm-bioaccumulation-and-microbial-1342.html - mapiem@univ-tln.fr