Research Topic

Microplastics and Microorganisms in the Environment

About this Research Topic

Plastic production has increased in recent decades, approaching 350 million tons for 2017, and led to rising concerns regarding plastic pollution in the environment. Small particles dominate plastic debris (< 5 mm in size), commonly referred to as microplastics (MPs).

MPs spread globally, from Antarctica to the Arctic, and are even present in the human body where their long-term impact on health is still largely unknown. MP contamination is persistently present in seawater, lakes, rivers, groundwater, and soil. Public awareness of MP pollution has increased due to the potential detrimental effects on the ecosystem and human health. The World Health Organization has called for an assessment of MPs in the environment (i.e. in drinking-water) to reduce human exposure.

Microorganisms are capable of colonizing MPs in many circumstances, evolving specific functions to establish and survive. Recent studies have indicated that microorganisms may have essential roles in the environmental distribution and transformation of MPs. Hence, it is crucial to explore the interactions between microorganisms and MPs to understand the impacts of MP pollution better and adopt effective control measures.

We propose this Research Topic to improve the understanding of the complex interaction between MPs and microorganisms with the application of innovative approaches. MPs can serve as novel carriers for microorganisms and environmental pollutants. The adhesion of microorganisms on MPs prompts the formation and characterization of the plastisphere. While the Research Topic "Microbial Degradation of Plastics" has discussed microbes of the plastisphere that can degrade MPs and detoxify absorbed organic pollutants, this Research Topic will focus on studies investigating the interactions between MPs and microorganisms in different environments. The aim is to generate new knowledge about MP pollution and their potential impacts on the environment and provide suggestions on possible measures to control MP pollution.

We welcome Original Research and Review Articles, including the following aspects of microorganism studies but not limited to:

• Mechanistical studies of the interaction between microbes and MPs in both terrestrial and aqueous ecosystems;
• MP stimulated biofilm formation (plastisphere) and the underlying mechanisms;
• Selective microbial community structuring on MPs and their spatiotemporal changes;
• MPs as carriers for microbial anthropogenic pollution and their impacts on human and ecosystem health;
• Roles of microorganisms in the formation, distribution, and transformation of MPs.

Other topics, such as nano plastics and MP-aided gene transfer, are also welcome. Mechanistic insights and hypothesis-driven studies are especially expected. Please note that this Research Topic won't consider descriptive studies.


Keywords: Microplastics;, Microoranisms;, Environment;, Distribution;, Interaction;


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Plastic production has increased in recent decades, approaching 350 million tons for 2017, and led to rising concerns regarding plastic pollution in the environment. Small particles dominate plastic debris (< 5 mm in size), commonly referred to as microplastics (MPs).

MPs spread globally, from Antarctica to the Arctic, and are even present in the human body where their long-term impact on health is still largely unknown. MP contamination is persistently present in seawater, lakes, rivers, groundwater, and soil. Public awareness of MP pollution has increased due to the potential detrimental effects on the ecosystem and human health. The World Health Organization has called for an assessment of MPs in the environment (i.e. in drinking-water) to reduce human exposure.

Microorganisms are capable of colonizing MPs in many circumstances, evolving specific functions to establish and survive. Recent studies have indicated that microorganisms may have essential roles in the environmental distribution and transformation of MPs. Hence, it is crucial to explore the interactions between microorganisms and MPs to understand the impacts of MP pollution better and adopt effective control measures.

We propose this Research Topic to improve the understanding of the complex interaction between MPs and microorganisms with the application of innovative approaches. MPs can serve as novel carriers for microorganisms and environmental pollutants. The adhesion of microorganisms on MPs prompts the formation and characterization of the plastisphere. While the Research Topic "Microbial Degradation of Plastics" has discussed microbes of the plastisphere that can degrade MPs and detoxify absorbed organic pollutants, this Research Topic will focus on studies investigating the interactions between MPs and microorganisms in different environments. The aim is to generate new knowledge about MP pollution and their potential impacts on the environment and provide suggestions on possible measures to control MP pollution.

We welcome Original Research and Review Articles, including the following aspects of microorganism studies but not limited to:

• Mechanistical studies of the interaction between microbes and MPs in both terrestrial and aqueous ecosystems;
• MP stimulated biofilm formation (plastisphere) and the underlying mechanisms;
• Selective microbial community structuring on MPs and their spatiotemporal changes;
• MPs as carriers for microbial anthropogenic pollution and their impacts on human and ecosystem health;
• Roles of microorganisms in the formation, distribution, and transformation of MPs.

Other topics, such as nano plastics and MP-aided gene transfer, are also welcome. Mechanistic insights and hypothesis-driven studies are especially expected. Please note that this Research Topic won't consider descriptive studies.


Keywords: Microplastics;, Microoranisms;, Environment;, Distribution;, Interaction;


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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