This study investigated the difference in biofilm growth between pristine polypropylene microplastics and aged polypropylene microplastics. The microplastics were added to Tempe Town Lake water for 4 weeks. Each week the microplastic biofilms were quantified. Comparing the total biofilm counts, the results showed that the aged microplastic biofilms were larger than the pristine each week. By week 3 the aged microplastic counts had almost doubled in size increasing from 324 to 626 Colony Forming Units per gram in just one week. There was a significant difference in the diversity found from week 1 to week 4. About 40% of the diversity for the pristine microplastic biofilm was seen as light-yellow dots and about 60% of these dots were seen on the aged microplastic biofilms in both weeks. As the microplastics were submerged in the lake water, new phenotypes emerged varying from week 1 to week 4 and from pristine to aged microplastic biofilms. Generally, it was found that as the microplastics stay in the environment there is more biofilm on the particles. The aged microplastics have a larger amount of biofouling, and the pristine microplastic biofilms were found to have more diversity of phenotypes.
- Examining Biofouling on Pristine and Aged Microplastics Exposed to Tempe Town Lake Water