Masterful Microbes Munch on Ocean Plastic


In Spain, researchers think we can thank microbes in the ocean for the lower amounts of plastic in the ocean than expected based on the estimate that one truckload of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute. It isn’t necessarily good news, however, as those microbes are food sources that go up the food chain which means we are eating more plastic when we much on our tuna, salmon and shrimp.

Through their mathematical modeling, Pompeu Fabra University researchers believe these microbes are increasing and eating some of the plastic dumped in the ocean. PET plastic, for example, takes 450 years to degrade, but it can be done in just six weeks with plastic eating bacteria. Either way, plastic pollution in the ocean remains a problem to be solved.