Microbes Existing in Plastic Could cause Cholera: Study
Scientists have revealed that microbes are living on bits of plastic waste in the ocean. They have created what scientists call "plastisphere". The colonies of bacteria are barely the size of pin, living on tiny pieces of plastic.
According to a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution press release, scientists want to explore plastisphere to figure out effects on human consumption.
"We're not just interested in who's there. We're interested in their function, how they're functioning in this ecosystem, how they're altering this ecosystem, and what's the ultimate fate of these particles in the ocean", said Linda Amaral-Zettler from the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) who worked on the study.
Electronic microscopy and gene sequencing techniques helped scientists discover around 1,000 types of bacteria existing in the plastisphere community. More microbial members of the colony are expected to be discovered by the scientists.
Scientists have warned that bacteria could be transported to other places, because of plastic that acts as raft. They found bacteria on one plastic sample, which causes cholera and gastrointestinal maladies.
The study was published online in Environmental Science & Technology. Scientists analyzed marine plastic debris at various locations in the North Atlantic Ocean. Most of the plastic debris was millimeter fragments.