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First Author: GAO Bo

Microplastic pollution has become an increasingly pervasive issue worldwide, but little is known about its effects on the soil environment. A soil microcosm experiment was conducted using low‐density polyethylene microplastics to estimate the effect of microplastic pollution on soil nutrient cycling and the soil microbial community structure. The results showed that microplastic addition significantly promoted soil carbon dioxide emissions but not soil nitrous oxide emissions. Soil pH, dissolved organic carbon, ammonia nitrogen, the contents of total phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA), and the ratios of gram‐positive bacteria to gram‐negative bacteria and saturated to monounsaturated PLFAs significantly increased. In addition, nitrate nitrogen and the ratios of fungi to bacteria, total iso‐branched fatty acids to total anteiso‐branched fatty acids, and cyclopropyl to precursor significantly decreased with increasing microplastic addition. The addition of microplastics decreased the abundance of ammonia oxidizing bacteria and nitrite reductase (nirS) but had little effect on the functional genes of ammonia oxidizing archaea, nitrite reductase (nirK), and nitrous oxide reductase. A principal coordinate analysis of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene and fungal internal transcribed spacer in the microplastic addition treatments revealed that the bacterial and fungal communities formed an obvious cluster. The average abundance of some microbial species with tolerance and degradability to microplastics, such as Nocardioidaceae, Amycolatopsis, Aeromicrobium, Cytophagaceae, Betaproteobacteria, Rhodoplanes and Mortierella, in the microplastic addition treatments was significantly higher than that of the control treatment. The results suggested that microplastics have obvious influences on microbial communities and may affect global carbon and nitrogen cycles. Environ Toxicol Chem 2021;40:352–365.

Contact the author: YAO Huaiying
Page Number: 352–365
Issue: 2
Impact Factor:
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PubYear: October 2020
Volume: 40
The full text link: https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.4916