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Here’s the abstract:
“Microplastics are a major environmental challenge, being ubiquitous and persistent as to represent a new component in all marine environments. As any biogenic particle, microplastics provide surfaces for microbial growth and biofilm production, which largely consist of carbohydrates and proteins. Biofilms influence microbial activity and modify particle buoyancy, and therefore control the fate of microplastics at sea. In a simulated “plastic ocean”, three mesocosms containing oligotrophic seawater were amended with polystyrene microbeads and compared to three control mesocosms. The evolution of organic matter, microbial communities and nutrient concentrations was monitored over 12 days. The results indicated that microplastics increased the production of organic carbon and its aggregation into gel particulates. The observed increase of gel-like organics has implications on the marine biological pump as well as the transport of microplastics in the ocean.”
As the Version of Record of this article is going to be/has been published on a gold open access basis under a CC BY 3.0 licence, this Accepted Manuscript is available for reuse under a CC BY 3.0 licence immediately.