Microbes Make Cozy Homes in Ocean's Garbage

June 27, 2013 8:22 PM

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Microbes Make Cozy Homes in Ocean's Garbage

For about four decades, it's been known that plastic is collecting in the open ocean. Now, scientists have found this debris harbors unique communities of microbes, and the tiny residents of this so-called plastisphere may help break down the marine garbage.

Inhabitants of the plastisphere include members of a group of bacteria, the vibrios, known to cause disease, and microbes known to break down the hydrocarbon bonds within plastics, genetic analysis revealed. But most important, the communities of microbes on the plastic pieces were quite different f...

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