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      The Plastisphere – Uncovering tightly attached plastic “ specific” microorganisms

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          In order to understand the degradation potential of plastics in the marine environment, microorganisms that preferentially colonize and interact with plastic surfaces, as opposed to generalists potentially colonising everything, need to be identified. Accordingly, it was hypothesized that i.) plastic “ specific” microorganisms are closely attached to the polymeric surface and ii.) that specificity of plastics biofilms are rather related to members of the rare biosphere. To answer these hypotheses, a three phased experiment to stepwise uncover closely attached microbes was conducted. In Phase 1, nine chemically distinct plastic films and glass were incubated in situ for 21 months in a seawater flow through system. In Phase 2, a high-pressure water jet treatment technique was used to remove the upper biofilm layers to further, in Phase 3, enrich a plastic “ specific” community. To proof whether microbes colonizing different plastics are distinct from each other and from other inert hard substrates, the bacterial communities of these different substrates were analysed using 16S rRNA gene tag sequencing. Our findings indicate that tightly attached microorganisms account to the rare biosphere and suggest the presence of plastic “ specific” microorganisms/assemblages which could benefit from the given plastic properties or at least grow under limited carbon resources.

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          Most cited references 41

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          The SILVA ribosomal RNA gene database project: improved data processing and web-based tools

          SILVA (from Latin silva, forest, is a comprehensive web resource for up to date, quality-controlled databases of aligned ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequences from the Bacteria, Archaea and Eukaryota domains and supplementary online services. The referred database release 111 (July 2012) contains 3 194 778 small subunit and 288 717 large subunit rRNA gene sequences. Since the initial description of the project, substantial new features have been introduced, including advanced quality control procedures, an improved rRNA gene aligner, online tools for probe and primer evaluation and optimized browsing, searching and downloading on the website. Furthermore, the extensively curated SILVA taxonomy and the new non-redundant SILVA datasets provide an ideal reference for high-throughput classification of data from next-generation sequencing approaches.
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            Evaluation of general 16S ribosomal RNA gene PCR primers for classical and next-generation sequencing-based diversity studies

            16S ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) amplicon analysis remains the standard approach for the cultivation-independent investigation of microbial diversity. The accuracy of these analyses depends strongly on the choice of primers. The overall coverage and phylum spectrum of 175 primers and 512 primer pairs were evaluated in silico with respect to the SILVA 16S/18S rDNA non-redundant reference dataset (SSURef 108 NR). Based on this evaluation a selection of ‘best available’ primer pairs for Bacteria and Archaea for three amplicon size classes (100–400, 400–1000, ≥1000 bp) is provided. The most promising bacterial primer pair (S-D-Bact-0341-b-S-17/S-D-Bact-0785-a-A-21), with an amplicon size of 464 bp, was experimentally evaluated by comparing the taxonomic distribution of the 16S rDNA amplicons with 16S rDNA fragments from directly sequenced metagenomes. The results of this study may be used as a guideline for selecting primer pairs with the best overall coverage and phylum spectrum for specific applications, therefore reducing the bias in PCR-based microbial diversity studies.
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              Biofilms: an emergent form of bacterial life.

              Bacterial biofilms are formed by communities that are embedded in a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). Importantly, bacteria in biofilms exhibit a set of 'emergent properties' that differ substantially from free-living bacterial cells. In this Review, we consider the fundamental role of the biofilm matrix in establishing the emergent properties of biofilms, describing how the characteristic features of biofilms - such as social cooperation, resource capture and enhanced survival of exposure to antimicrobials - all rely on the structural and functional properties of the matrix. Finally, we highlight the value of an ecological perspective in the study of the emergent properties of biofilms, which enables an appreciation of the ecological success of biofilms as habitat formers and, more generally, as a bacterial lifestyle.

                Author and article information

                Role: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: ValidationRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Supervision
                Role: Methodology
                Role: Methodology
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Supervision
                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                23 April 2019
                : 14
                : 4
                [1 ] Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Biologische Anstalt Helgoland, Helgoland, Germany
                [2 ] University of Würzburg, Biocenter, Imaging Core Facility, Würzburg, Germany
                University of Porto, PORTUGAL
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                © 2019 Kirstein et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 0, Pages: 17
                Funded by: funder-id, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung;
                Award ID: 03F0734A
                Award Recipient :
                This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Project BASEMAN - Defining the baselines and standards for microplastics analyses in European waters; BMBF grant 03F0734A) to GG. This work was also funded by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                The raw sequence data is available in the European Nucleotide Archive under the accession number PRJEB30284. All other relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files.



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