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MikrOMIK: Die Rolle von Mikroplastik als Träger mikrobieller Populationen im Ökosystem Ostsee (MikrOMIK)

The joint project MikrOMIK is aiming at a comprehensive analysis of microplastic in the Baltic Sea, focusing on the microbial populations colonizing the plastic particles. So far, only rough estimations of the abundance and distribution of microplastic in the Baltic Sea exist, and nothing is known about the interaction between microplastic and microorganisms in this ecosystem. Milestones of MikrOMIK are:

(I) A first-time analysis of the distribution, potential sources and sinks of microplastic in the Baltic Sea.

(II) The determination of the role of microplastic as substrate for specific microbial populations and their functions.

(III) The assessment of health risks for the littoral states of the Baltic Sea, emanating from microplastic as a vector for pathogenic microorganisms.


  • Oberbeckmann, S., S. Markert and M. Labrenz (2021). Mikrobieller Plastikabbau im Meer: die Suche nach dem Unwahrscheinlichen. BIOspektrum 27: 358-361, doi: 10.1007/s12268-021-1591-7
  • Scales, B. S., R. N. Cable, M. B. Duhaime, G. Gerdts, F. Fischer, D. Fischer, S. Mothes, L. Hintzki, L. Moldaenke, M. Ruwe, J. Kalinowski, B. Kreikemeyer, M.-L. Pedrotti, G. Gorsky, A. Elineau, M. Labrenz and S. Oberbeckmann (2021). Cross-hemisphere study reveals geographically ubiquitous, plastic-specific bacteria emerging from the rare and unexplored biosphere. mSphere 6: e0085120, doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00851-20
  • Oberbeckmann, S., D. Bartosik, S. Huang, J. Werner, C. Hirschfeld, D. Wibberg, S. E. Heiden, B. Bunk, J. Overmann, D. Becher, J. Kalinowski, T. Schweder, M. Labrenz and S. Markert (2021). Genomic and proteomic profiles of biofilms on microplastics are decoupled from artificial surface properties. Environ. Microbiol. 23: 3099-3115, doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.15531
  • Kesy, K., M. Labrenz, B. S. Scales, B. Kreikemeyer and S. Oberbeckmann (2021). Vibrio colonization is highly dynamic in early microplastic-associated biofilms as well as on field-collected microplastics. Microorganisms 9: 76, doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9010076
  • Enders, K., A. Käppler, O. Biniasch, P. Feldens, N. Stollberg, X. Lange, D. Fischer, K.-J. Eichhorn, F. Pollehne, S. Oberbeckmann and M. Labrenz (2019). Tracing microplastics in aquatic environments based on sediment analogies. Sci. Rep. 9: 15207, doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-50508-2
  • Wiegand, S., M. Jogler, C. Boedeker, D. Pinto, J. Vollmers, E. Rivas-Marín, T. Kohn, S. H. Peeters, A. Heuer, P. Rast, S. Oberbeckmann, B. Bunk, O. Jeske, A. Meyerdierks, J. E. Storesund, N. Kallscheuer, S. Lücker, O. M. Lage, T. Pohl, B. J. Merkel, P. Hornburger, R.-W. Müller, F. Brümmer, M. Labrenz, A. M. Spormann, H. J. M. Op den Camp, J. Overmann, R. Amann, M. S. M. Jetten, T. Mascher, M. H. Medema, D. P. Devos, A.-K. Kaster, L. Øvreås, M. Rohde, M. Y. Galperin and C. Jogler (2020). Cultivation and functional characterization of 79 planctomycetes uncovers their unique biology. Nat. Microbiol. 5: 126-140, doi: 10.1038/s41564-019-0588-1
  • Haseler, M. (2019). Hier und da und überall - Plastik in der marinen Umwelt. In: Weltmeere im Wandel. Ed. by B. Ratter. Hamburg: (Hamburger Symposium Geographie; Band 10) 10: 29-44,
  • Haseler, M., C. Weder, L. Buschbeck, S. Wesnigk and G. Schernewski (2019). Cost-effective monitoring of large micro- and meso-litter in tidal and flood accumulation zones at south-western Baltic Sea beaches. Mar. Poll. Bull. 149: 110544, doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.110544
  • Kesy, K., S. Oberbeckmann, B. Kreikemeyer and M. Labrenz (2019). Spatial environmental heterogeneity determines young biofilm assemblages on microplastics in Baltic Sea mesocosms. Front. Microbiol. 10: 1665, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01665
  • Oberbeckmann, S. and M. Labrenz (2020). Marine microbial assemblages on microplastics: Diversity, adaptation, and role in degradation. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci. 12: 209-232, doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-010419-010633
  • Kettner, M. T., S. Oberbeckmann, M. Labrenz and H.-P. Grossart (2019). The eukaryotic life on microplastics in brackish ecosystems. Front. Microbiol. 10: 538, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.00538
  • Klaeger, F., A. S. Tagg, S. Otto, M. Bienmüller, I. Sartorius and M. Labrenz (2019). Residual monomer content affects the interpretation of plastic degradation. Sci. Rep. 9: 2120, doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-38685-6
  • Käppler, A., M. Fischer, B. M. Scholz-Böttcher, S. Oberbeckmann, M. Labrenz, D. Fischer, K.-J. Eichhorn and B. Voit (2018). Comparison of μ-ATR-FTIR spectroscopy and py-GCMS as identification tools for microplastic particles and fibers isolated from river sediments. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 410: 5313-5327, doi: 10.1007/s00216-018-1185-5
  • Oberbeckmann, S., B. Kreikemeyer and M. Labrenz (2018). Environmental factors support the formation of specific bacterial assemblages on microplastics. Front. Microbiol. 8: 2709, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02709
  • Kettner, M. T., K. Rojas-Jimenez, S. Oberbeckmann, M. Labrenz and H.-P. Grossart (2017). Microplastics alter composition of fungal communities in aquatic ecosystems. Environ. Microbiol. 19, 11: 4447-4459, doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13891
  • Kesy, K., A. Hentzsch, F. Klaeger, S. Oberbeckmann, S. Mothes and M. Labrenz (2017). Fate and stability of polyamide-associated bacterial assemblages after their passage through the digestive tract of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Mar. Poll. Bull. 125: 132-138, doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.08.016
  • Kaiser, D., N. Kowalski and J. J. Waniek (2017). Effects of biofouling on the sinking behavior of microplastics. Environ. Res. Lett. 12: 124003, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa8e8b
  • Schernewski, G., A. Balciunas, D. Gräwe, U. Gräwe, K. Klesse, M. Schulz, S. Wesnigk, D. Fleet, M. Haseler, N. Möllman and S. Werner (2018). Beach macro-litter monitoring on southern Baltic beaches: results, experiences and recommendations. J. Coast. Conserv. 22: 5-25, doi: 10.1007/s11852-016-0489-x
  • Oberbeckmann, S., K. Kesy, B. Kreikemeyer and M. Labrenz (2017). Hitchhiking microorganisms on microplastics in the Baltic Sea. In: MICRO 2016: fate and impact of Microplastics in marine ecosystems: from coastline to the open sea. Amsterdam: Elsevier: 72, 978-012-812271-6
  • Käppler, A., D. Fischer, S. Oberbeckmann, G. Schernewski, M. Labrenz, K.-J. Eichhorn and B. Voit (2016). Analysis of environmental microplastics by vibrational microspectroscopy: FTIR, Raman or both? Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 408: 8377-8391, doi: 10.1007/s00216-016-9956-3
  • Kesy, K., S. Oberbeckmann, F. Müller and M. Labrenz (2016). Polystyrene influences bacterial assemblages in Arenicola marina-populated aquatic environments in vitro. Environ. Poll. 219: 219-227, doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2016.10.032
  • Haseler, M., G. Schernewski, A. Balciunas and V. Sabaliauskaite (2018). Monitoring methods for large micro- and meso-litter and applications at Baltic beaches. J. Coast. Conserv. 22: 27-50, doi: 10.1007/s11852-017-0497-5
  • Gräwe, D., M. Haseler and G. Schernewski (2016). Meeresmüll an deutschen Ostseestränden. Wasser u. Abfall 18: 12-17
  • Kowalski, N., A. M. Reichardt and J. J. Waniek (2016). Sinking rates of microplastics and potential implications of their alteration by physical, biological, and chemical factors. Mar. Poll. Bull. 109: 310-319, doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.05.064