© Alexandra TER HALLE / IMRCP / CNRS Photothèque
Microplastic covered by bacterial communities observed by scanning electron microscopy. The image is colourised. This polyethylene debris was collected in May 2014 during the 7th Continent expedition to the North Atlantic ocean gyre, where a vast mass of floating plastic waste has accumulated. Researchers are wondering whether these bacteria can metabolise the plastic. Polyethylene however is known for not being readily biodegradable.