Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) is a bioplastic that is broken down and degraded by microorganisms. PHA is widely used for disposable plastic products. In her doctoral thesis, Caroline Zeidler showed that animals can break down PHA. With the financial support from the Andreas Rühl Foundation, the ability and mechanism of marine metazoans to degrade PHA-based plastic in marine ecosystems will be investigated. Plastic pollution of the oceans is an omnipresent problem, and we want to contribute to reduce it with the financial support from the Andreas Rühl Foundation.
The institutes of the Max Planck Society are involved in research areas that are particularly innovative and often require a special financial or temporal investment. Although their important role has long been recognised, we still know very little about microorganisms in the sea and their special functions and functioning. Filling this gap is the aim and purpose of our international and interdisciplinary research. The donation now received enables us to take a further step in our exploration of this fascinating and important habitat. We would therefore like to express our most sincere thanks to the Andreas Rühl Foundation - we are very grateful for their support!