Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2020.116582
Document author version
Title (Primary) Interaction of cyanobacteria with calcium facilitates the sedimentation of microplastics in a eutrophic reservoir
Author Leiser, R.; Jongsma, R.; Bakenhus, I.; Möckel, R.; Philipp, B.; Neu, T.R.; Wendt-Potthoff, K. ORCID logo
Source Titel Water Research
Year 2021
Department SEEFO; FLOEK
Volume 189
Page From art. 116582
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
UFZ wide themes Microplastics;
Abstract Low-density microplastics are frequently found in sediments of many lakes and reservoirs. The processes leading to sedimentation of initially buoyant polymers are poorly understood for inland waters. This study investigated the impact of biofilm formation and aggregation on the density of buoyant polyethylene microplastics. Biofilm formation on polyethylene films (4 × 4 × 0.15 mm) was studied in a eutrophic reservoir (Bautzen, Saxony, Germany). Additionally, aggregation dynamics of small PE microplastics (∼85 µm) with cyanobacteria were investigated in laboratory experiments. During summer phototrophic sessile cyanobacteria (Chamaesiphon spp. and Leptolyngbya spp.) precipitated calcite while forming biofilms on microplastics incubated in Bautzen reservoir. Subsequently the density of the biofilms led to sinking of roughly 10 % of the polyethylene particles within 29 days of incubation. In the laboratory experiments planktonic cyanobacteria (Microcystis spp.) formed large and dense cell aggregates under the influence of elevated Ca2+ concentrations. These aggregates enclosed microplastic particles and led to sinking of a small portion (∼0.4 %) of polyethylene microplastics. This study showed that both sessile and planktonic phototrophic microorganisms mediate processes influenced by calcium which facilitates densification and sinking of microplastics in freshwater reservoirs. Loss of buoyancy leads to particle sedimentation and could be a prerequisite for the permanent burial of microplastics within reservoir sediments.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Leiser, R., Jongsma, R., Bakenhus, I., Möckel, R., Philipp, B., Neu, T.R., Wendt-Potthoff, K. (2021):
Interaction of cyanobacteria with calcium facilitates the sedimentation of microplastics in a eutrophic reservoir
Water Res. 189 , art. 116582 10.1016/j.watres.2020.116582