Decomposition rate and biochemical fate of carbon from natural polymers and microplastics in boreal lakes
Vesamäki, J. S., Nissinen, R., Kainz, M. J., Pilecky, M., Tiirola, M., & Taipale, S. J. (2022). Decomposition rate and biochemical fate of carbon from natural polymers and microplastics in boreal lakes. Frontiers in Microbiology, 13, Article 1041242. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2022.1041242
Published inFrontiers in Microbiology
© 2022 Vesamäki, Nissinen, Kainz, Pilecky, Tiirola and Taipale.
Microbial mineralization of organic compounds is essential for carbon recycling in food webs. Microbes can decompose terrestrial recalcitrant and semi-recalcitrant polymers such as lignin and cellulose, which are precursors for humus formation. In addition to naturally occurring recalcitrant substrates, microplastics have been found in various aquatic environments. However, microbial utilization of lignin, hemicellulose, and microplastics as carbon sources in freshwaters and their biochemical fate and mineralization rate in freshwaters is poorly understood. To fill this knowledge gap, we investigated the biochemical fate and mineralization rates of several natural and synthetic polymer-derived carbon in clear and humic lake waters. We used stable isotope analysis to unravel the decomposition processes of different 13C-labeled substrates [polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, lignin/hemicellulose, and leaves (Fagus sylvatica)]. We also used compound-specific isotope analysis and molecular biology to identify microbes associated with used substrates. Leaves and hemicellulose were rapidly decomposed compared to microplastics which were degraded slowly or below detection level. Furthermore, aromatic polystyrene was decomposed faster than aliphatic polyethylene and polypropylene. The major biochemical fate of decomposed substrate carbon was in microbial biomass. Bacteria were the main decomposers of all studied substrates, whereas fungal contribution was poor. Bacteria from the family Burkholderiaceae were identified as potential leaf and polystyrene decomposers, whereas polypropylene and polyethylene were not decomposed. ...
PublisherFrontiers Media SA
Publication in research information system
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Project, AoF; Academy Research Fellow, AoF
Additional information about fundingThis research was funded by the Kone Foundation grant 201905367 awarded to the ST, Academy of Finland grant 333564 awarded to ST, and Academy of Finland 325107 awarded to MT.
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