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Biofilm-induced effect on the buoyancy of plastic debris: An experimental study

Abstract: Plastic floating on the ocean surface represents about 1 % of all plastic in the ocean, despite the buoyancy of most plastics. Biofouling can help to sink debris, which could explain this discrepancy. A set of laboratory experiments was conducted to investigate biofilm-induced effects on the buoyancy of different plastic debris. Ten materials of different densities (buoyant/non-buoyant), sizes (micro/meso/macro), and shapes (irregular/spherical/cylindrical/ flat), including facemasks and cotton swabs, were evaluated. Biofilm was incubated in these materials from a few weeks to three months to investigate the effect of different growth levels on their buoyancy. Biofilm levels and rising/settling velocities were measured and compared at seven time-points. The results show a hindered buoyancy for solid materials, while hollow and open materials showed the opposite trend in early biofilm colonization stages. A relationship was established between biofilm-growth and equivalent sphere diameter that can be used to improve predictive modeling of plastic-debris transport.

Otras publicaciones de la misma revista o congreso con autores/as de la Universidad de Cantabria

 Fuente: Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2023, 193, 115239

Editorial: Elsevier Ltd

 Año de publicación: 2023

Nº de páginas: 13

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2023.115239

ISSN: 0025-326X,1879-3363

Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2023.115239