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Carnival at sea is no party

Colorful glitter, a symbol of carnivalesque joy, often ends up in lakes and the sea. Scientists from the Cyanos research group at the the University of São Paulo, concerned about the organisms they study, investigated the impacts of these microplastics (pink hexagon) on freshwater and saltwater cyanobacteria (such as the green line in the above image). They found that the glitter particles reflect sunlight, reducing the photosynthesis carried out by cyanobacteria and releasing substances such as metals and bisphenol, which are toxic to the organisms. The group now plans to study the effects of biodegradable glitter.

Image submitted by Rafael Barty Dextro, a researcher from the Cyanos group at the Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture at the University of São Paulo (CENA-USP) in Piracicaba