May 22, 2019 | 13:51 / Interesting information
About 10 percent of the oxygen entering the earth’s atmosphere is produced by cyanobacteria of the genus Prochlorococcus. They are very well-spread in the World ocean - and even they suffer severely from plastic pollution. Every year more than eight million tons of plastics are delivered into the sea.
Scientists used two strains of Prochlorococcus, living in different depths of the ocean, and exposed them to chemical compounds, which are formed under natural conditions, during the decomposition of polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride - the main plastic materials. And indeed, they caused noticeable changes in the activity of the genome of cyanobacteria, reduced their growth rates, photosynthesis and, as a result, the release of pure oxygen.
If the plastic threatens the bacteria that give us every tenth breath, it directly threatens us as well.