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      Ecology of the plastisphere

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          Most cited references 69

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          Microbial biofilms.

          Direct observations have clearly shown that biofilm bacteria predominate, numerically and metabolically, in virtually all nutrient-sufficient ecosystems. Therefore, these sessile organisms predominate in most of the environmental, industrial, and medical problems and processes of interest to microbiologists. If biofilm bacteria were simply planktonic cells that had adhered to a surface, this revelation would be unimportant, but they are demonstrably and profoundly different. We first noted that biofilm cells are at least 500 times more resistant to antibacterial agents. Now we have discovered that adhesion triggers the expression of a sigma factor that derepresses a large number of genes so that biofilm cells are clearly phenotypically distinct from their planktonic counterparts. Each biofilm bacterium lives in a customized microniche in a complex microbial community that has primitive homeostasis, a primitive circulatory system, and metabolic cooperativity, and each of these sessile cells reacts to its special environment so that it differs fundamentally from a planktonic cell of the same species.
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            Biological degradation of plastics: a comprehensive review.

            Lack of degradability and the closing of landfill sites as well as growing water and land pollution problems have led to concern about plastics. With the excessive use of plastics and increasing pressure being placed on capacities available for plastic waste disposal, the need for biodegradable plastics and biodegradation of plastic wastes has assumed increasing importance in the last few years. Awareness of the waste problem and its impact on the environment has awakened new interest in the area of degradable polymers. The interest in environmental issues is growing and there are increasing demands to develop material which do not burden the environment significantly. Biodegradation is necessary for water-soluble or water-immiscible polymers because they eventually enter streams which can neither be recycled nor incinerated. It is important to consider the microbial degradation of natural and synthetic polymers in order to understand what is necessary for biodegradation and the mechanisms involved. This requires understanding of the interactions between materials and microorganisms and the biochemical changes involved. Widespread studies on the biodegradation of plastics have been carried out in order to overcome the environmental problems associated with synthetic plastic waste. This paper reviews the current research on the biodegradation of biodegradable and also the conventional synthetic plastics and also use of various techniques for the analysis of degradation in vitro.
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              Mapping of picoeucaryotes in marine ecosystems with quantitative PCR of the 18S rRNA gene.

              A quantitative PCR (QPCR) assay based on the use of SYBR Green I was developed to assess the abundance of specific groups of picoeukaryotes in marine waters. Six primer sets were designed targeting four different taxonomic levels: domain (Eukaryota), division (Chlorophyta), order (Mamiellales) and genus (Bathycoccus, Micromonas, and Ostreococcus). Reaction conditions were optimized for each primer set which was validated in silico, on agarose gels, and by QPCR against a variety of target and non-target cultures. The approach was tested by estimating gene copy numbers for Micromonas, Bathycoccus, and Ostreococcus in seawater samples to which cultured cells were added in various concentrations. QPCR was then used to determine that rRNA gene (rDNA) copy number varied from one to more than 12,000 in 18 strains of phytoplankton. Finally, QPCR was applied to environmental samples from a Mediterranean Sea coastal site and the results were compared to those obtained by Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). The data obtained demonstrate that Chlorophyta and more specifically Mamiellales were important in these waters, especially during the winter picoplankton bloom. The timing of major abundance peaks of the targeted species was similar by QPCR and FISH. When used in conjunction with other techniques such as FISH or gene clone libraries, QPCR appears as very promising to quickly obtain data on the ecological distribution of important phytoplankton groups. Data interpretation must take into account primer specificity and the varying rRNA gene copy number among eukaryotes.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Microbiology
                Nat Rev Microbiol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1740-1526
                1740-1534
                January 14 2020
                Article
                10.1038/s41579-019-0308-0
                © 2020

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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