Microbial Diversity and Activity During the Biodegradation in Seawater of Various Substitutes to Conventional Plastic Cotton Swab Sticks

Type Article
Date 2021-07
Language English
Author(s) Jacquin Justine1, 2, Callac NolwennORCID1, 3, Cheng Jingguang1, Giraud Carolane1, 3, Gorand Yonko4, Denoual Clement5, Pujo-Pay Mireille1, Conan Pascal1, Meistertzheim Anne-Leila6, Barbe Valerie7, Bruzaud Stéphane5, Ghiglione Jean-François1
Affiliation(s) 1 : CNRS, UMR 7621, Laboratoire d’Océanographie Microbienne, Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France
2 : Innovation Plasturgie et Composites, Biopole Clermont Limagne, Saint-Beauzire, France
3 : CNRS, UMR 9220 ENTROPIE, Ifremer (LEAD-NC), IRD, Univ Nouvelle–Calédonie, Univ La Réunion, Nouméa, New Caledonia
4 : Plateforme EnRMAT, Laboratoire PROMES, Rembla de la Thermodynamique, Perpignan, France
5 : UMR CNRS 6027, Institut de Recherche Dupuy de Lôme (IRDL), Université de Bretagne-Sud, Lorient, France
6 : SAS Plastic@Sea, Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls, Banyuls-sur-Mer, France
7 : Génomique Métabolique, Genoscope, Institut François Jacob, CEA, CNRS, Univ Evry, Université Paris-Saclay, Evry, France
Source Frontiers In Microbiology (1664-302X) (Frontiers Media SA), 2021-07 , Vol. 12 , P. 604395 (15p.)
DOI 10.3389/fmicb.2021.604395
WOS© Times Cited 23
Keyword(s) plastisphere, biofouling, plastic biodegradation, single-used plastics, microbial colonization

The European Parliament recently approved a new law banning single-use plastic items for 2021 such as plastic plates, cutlery, straws, cotton swabs, and balloon sticks. Transition to a bioeconomy involves the substitution of these banned products with biodegradable materials. Several materials such as polylactic acid (PLA), polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT), poly(butylene succinate) (PBS), polyhydroxybutyrate-valerate (PHBV), Bioplast, and Mater-Bi could be good candidates to substitute cotton swabs, but their biodegradability needs to be tested under marine conditions. In this study, we described the microbial life growing on these materials, and we evaluated their biodegradability in seawater, compared with controls made of non-biodegradable polypropylene (PP) or biodegradable cellulose. During the first 40 days in seawater, we detected clear changes in bacterial diversity (Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA gene) and heterotrophic activity (incorporation of 3H-leucine) that coincided with the classic succession of initial colonization, growth, and maturation phases of a biofilm. Biodegradability of the cotton swab sticks was then tested during another 94 days under strict diet conditions with the different plastics as sole carbon source. The drastic decrease of the bacterial activity on PP, PLA, and PBS suggested no bacterial attack of these materials, whereas the bacterial activity in PBAT, Bioplast, Mater-Bi, and PHBV presented similar responses to the cellulose positive control. Interestingly, the different bacterial diversity trends observed for biodegradable vs. non-biodegradable plastics allowed to describe potential new candidates involved in the degradation of these materials under marine conditions. This better understanding of the bacterial diversity and activity dynamics during the colonization and biodegradation processes contributes to an expanding baseline to understand plastic biodegradation in marine conditions and provide a foundation for further decisions on the replacement of the banned single-used plastics.

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Jacquin Justine, Callac Nolwenn, Cheng Jingguang, Giraud Carolane, Gorand Yonko, Denoual Clement, Pujo-Pay Mireille, Conan Pascal, Meistertzheim Anne-Leila, Barbe Valerie, Bruzaud Stéphane, Ghiglione Jean-François (2021). Microbial Diversity and Activity During the Biodegradation in Seawater of Various Substitutes to Conventional Plastic Cotton Swab Sticks. Frontiers In Microbiology, 12, 604395 (15p.). Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2021.604395 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00705/81714/