Research, Technology

The bad news is that deadly bacteria breeds on plastic in the ocean.

There are currently two growingsubstances - algae and plastic debris. The growth of algae leads to pollution of the coastal zone and the death of marine life. Plastic trash, on the other hand, is a source of microplastics, which turned out to be not as safe as initially thought. But as a recent study showed, algae and microplastics share one common danger that no one had previously guessed - they have become a favorable environment for the development of deadly carnivorous bacteria, some of which were previously unknown to science. This is really bad news, since it is not known what consequences this situation can lead to.

Scientists have discovered a new deadly danger from plastic debris in the ocean

Dangerous vibrio bacteria

Carnivorous bacteria of the genus Vibrio, or vibrios,include more than 40 types of bacteria, most of which are found in Africa. In the sea, they feed on the tissues of marine plants and animals. People can become infected with these bacteria through water or contaminated seafood.

Some species of Vibrio vulnificus are capable ofinfect a person even through times, which leads to the destruction of surrounding tissues and threatens with a fatal outcome. There are also vibrios that cause meningitis, encephalitis, cholera and other equally dangerous diseases. Therefore, a person's encounter with these pathogens can be fatal for him.

Vibrio bacteria cause various diseases that can be fatal

Carnivorous bacteria multiply rapidly on plastic

Florida Atlantic University staffrecently conducted a study in which they studied samples of ocean plastic collected in the Caribbean and Sargasso seas, as well as brown algae, or sargassum. Earlier we said that these algae form the Sargasso belt, which is already visible even from space. In addition, they analyzed eel larvae and sea water.

As it turned out, in samples of plastic and algaecontains several types of vibrios. Some of them, as we said above, were not previously known to science. During the study, it turned out that they have a high pathogenic potential, that is, they are able to infect the body and cause dangerous diseases.

According to the researchers, during the experimentquickly bacteria clung to plastic surfaces and colonized them at an alarming rate. Under laboratory conditions, bacteria have shown themselves to be extremely aggressive.

Brown algae washed ashore in large numbers

What threatens the reproduction of pathogenic bacteria in the ocean

As the study showed, the results of whichwere published in the journal Water Research, Vibrio bacteria are well adapted to living in the open ocean, while posing a danger to humans and other inhabitants. Some of the bacteria produce toxins that enter the intestines, causing damage to it, causing leaky gut syndrome.

If, for example, a fish eats microplastics andbecomes infected with a toxic vibrio, she develops diarrhea, and the intestines become leaky. Such fish begin to release nitrogen and phosphate into the water, which leads to the growth of sargassum, on which vibrios live, as well as the reproduction of other microorganisms.

It should also be noted that the growingat a catastrophic rate, algae meet and mix with plastic. The exchange of microbes between them can lead to an even higher danger. As we said earlier, brown algae are washed up on the coast in large quantities and pollute the beaches. This can lead to mass infection of marine life and people who come into contact with them.

Microplastics are extremely dangerous even by themselves.

Previously it was proposed to use sargassum forproduction of fertilizers, biofuels and even some foodstuffs. However, scientists warn that the algae should not be touched until the danger has been studied in more detail.

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Finally, we recall that microplastics, which ina huge amount gets into the water from plastic debris, it is dangerous in itself. It promotes the reproduction of superbugs, leads to inflammation of the intestines and other diseases. And a recent study showed that nanoplastics can even penetrate the brain. Therefore, the accumulation of plastic debris in the ocean is becoming an increasingly serious problem.