Prochlorococcus is a bacteria responsible for an estimated 20 percent of the oxygen we breathe. It floats on top of many of the oceans all over the world. Based on an article from Wired.com, researchers have learned that the bacteria are taking in plastic toxins from the ocean and conducted a study to determine its effect.
Unfortunatley, there were clear reactions based on the level of the leachates (the plastic toxins being taking in by the bacteria from the ocean). As the concentration of the leachate increased, the more harmful the effect on the Prochlorococcus…eventually concluding in the bateria’s death at the highest concentrations.
Although the study is not conclusive (it was conducted in a lab and not in the ocean), it does shine more light on a problem that we are all already aware of - plastic is bad for our oceans. We’re all aware of the problems with plastics that we can see. There’s countless images of sealife and birds struggling with plastic in the wildlife. We’re still learning about the long-term impacts and problems with micro plastics.