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Microplastics persist in an arable soil but do not affect soil microbial biomass, enzyme activities, and crop yield

Title data

Schöpfer, Lion ; Möller, Julia N. ; Steiner, Thomas ; Schnepf, Uwe ; Marhan, Sven ; Resch, Julia ; Bayha, Ansilla ; Löder, Martin G. J. ; Freitag, Ruth ; Brümmer, Franz ; Laforsch, Christian ; Streck, Thilo ; Forberger, Jens ; Kranert, Martin ; Kandeler, Ellen ; Pagel, Holger:
Microplastics persist in an arable soil but do not affect soil microbial biomass, enzyme activities, and crop yield.
In: Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science. (22 July 2022) .
ISSN 1436-8730
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/jpln.202200062

Official URL: Volltext

Abstract in another language

Background Microplastics (MP, plastic particles \textless5 mm) are ubiquitous in arable soils due to significant inputs via organic fertilizers, sewage sludges, and plastic mulches. However, knowledge of typical MP loadings, their fate, and ecological impacts on arable soils is limited. Aims We studied (1) MP background concentrations, (2) the fate of added conventional and biodegradable MP, and (3) effects of MP in combination with organic fertilizers on microbial abundance and activity associated with carbon (C) cycling, and crop yields in an arable soil. Methods On a conventionally managed soil (Luvisol, silt loam), we arranged plots in a randomized complete block design with the following MP treatments (none, low-density polyethylene LDPE, a blend of poly(lactic acid) and poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) PLA/PBAT) and organic fertilizers (none, compost, digestate). We added 20 kg MP ha–1 and 10 t organic fertilizers ha–1. We measured concentrations of MP in the soil, microbiological indicators of C cycling (microbial biomass and enzyme activities), and crop yields over 1.5 years. Results Background concentration of MP in the top 10 cm was 296 ± 110 (mean ± standard error) particles {\textless}0.5 mm per kg soil, with polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyethylene as the main polymers. Added LDPE and PLA/PBAT particles showed no changes in number and particle size over time. MP did not affect the soil microbiological indicators of C cycling or crop yields. Conclusions Numerous MP occur in arable soils, suggesting diffuse MP entry into soils. In addition to conventional MP, biodegradable MP may persist under field conditions. However, MP at current concentrations are not expected to affect C turnover and crop yield.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: LDPE; field experiment; microbial biomass; organic fertilizers; PLA/PBAT; plastics contamination; soil enzyme activity
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I > Chair Animal Ecology I - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science > Chair Process Biotechnology
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science > Chair Process Biotechnology > Chair Process Biotechnology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ruth Freitag
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit > SFB 1357 - MIKROPLASTIK
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2022 07:22
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 05:26
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/71691