Bio-based plastics, produced from renewable biomass sources, may contribute to lowering greenhouse gases and the demand for fossil resources. However, their environmental fate is not well understood. Here, we compared the impacts of industrially produced granules (G) and micro-debris (MD) from three pristine bio-based plastics: high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polylactic acid (PLA) and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) on natural bacterial communities in seawater and freshwater using metagenomics. After one month, we found a dissimilarity between the microbial communities forming a biofilm on the plastics and planktonic bacteria. Further, different bacterial groups became dominant on different bio-based plastics, i.e. Burkholderiaceae, Solimonadaceae, Oleiphilaceae, and Sneathiellaceae on HDPE and Alteromonadaceae on PLA and Rhodobacteraceae on PHBV in seawater, and Beijerinckiaceae and Chitinophagaceae on HDPE, Microtrichaceae on PLA and Caulobacteraceae and Sphingomonadaceae on PHBV in freshwater. Variovorax, Albimonas and Sphingomonas genera were recorded on bio-based plastics in both seawater and freshwater. This study describes how different bio-based plastic materials and granule sizes influence the development of natural bacterial communities.

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