Soil contamination with microplastics may adversely affect soil properties and functions and consequently crop productivity. In this study, we wanted to verify whether the adverse effects of microplastics in the soil on maize plants (Zea mays L.) are due to a reduction in nitrogen (N) availability and a reduced capacity to establish symbiotic relationships with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. To do this, we performed a pot experiment in which a clayey soil was exposed to two environmentally relevant concentrations of polypropylene (PP; one of the most used plastic materials) microfibers (0.4% and 0.8% w/w) with or without the addition of N fertilizer and with or without inoculation with AM fungi. The experiment began after the soil had been incubated at 23 °C for 5 months. Soil contamination with PP considerably reduced maize root and shoot biomass, leaf area, N uptake, and N content in tissue. The adverse effects increased with the concentration of PP in the soil. Adding N to the soil did not alleviate the detrimental effects of PP on plant growth, which suggests that other factors besides N availability played a major role. Similarly, although the presence of PP did not inhibit root colonization by AM fungi (no differences were observed for this trait between the uncontaminated and PP-contaminated soils), the addition of the fungal inoculum to the soil failed to mitigate the negative impact of PP on maize growth. Quite the opposite: mycorrhization further reduced maize root biomass accumulation. Undoubtedly, much research remains to be done to shed light on the mechanisms involved in determining plant behavior in microplastic-contaminated soils, which are most likely complex. This research is a priority given the magnitude of this contamination and its potential implications for human and environmental health.

Giambalvo D., Amato G., Ingraffia R., Lo Porto A., Mirabile G., Ruisi P., et al. (2023). Nitrogen fertilization and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi do not mitigate the adverse effects of soil contamination with polypropylene microfibers on maize growth. ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, 334 [10.1016/j.envpol.2023.122146].

Nitrogen fertilization and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi do not mitigate the adverse effects of soil contamination with polypropylene microfibers on maize growth

Giambalvo D.
Primo
;
Amato G.;Ingraffia R.
;
Lo Porto A.;Mirabile G.;Ruisi P.;Torta L.;Frenda A. S.
Ultimo
2023-07-11

Abstract

Soil contamination with microplastics may adversely affect soil properties and functions and consequently crop productivity. In this study, we wanted to verify whether the adverse effects of microplastics in the soil on maize plants (Zea mays L.) are due to a reduction in nitrogen (N) availability and a reduced capacity to establish symbiotic relationships with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. To do this, we performed a pot experiment in which a clayey soil was exposed to two environmentally relevant concentrations of polypropylene (PP; one of the most used plastic materials) microfibers (0.4% and 0.8% w/w) with or without the addition of N fertilizer and with or without inoculation with AM fungi. The experiment began after the soil had been incubated at 23 °C for 5 months. Soil contamination with PP considerably reduced maize root and shoot biomass, leaf area, N uptake, and N content in tissue. The adverse effects increased with the concentration of PP in the soil. Adding N to the soil did not alleviate the detrimental effects of PP on plant growth, which suggests that other factors besides N availability played a major role. Similarly, although the presence of PP did not inhibit root colonization by AM fungi (no differences were observed for this trait between the uncontaminated and PP-contaminated soils), the addition of the fungal inoculum to the soil failed to mitigate the negative impact of PP on maize growth. Quite the opposite: mycorrhization further reduced maize root biomass accumulation. Undoubtedly, much research remains to be done to shed light on the mechanisms involved in determining plant behavior in microplastic-contaminated soils, which are most likely complex. This research is a priority given the magnitude of this contamination and its potential implications for human and environmental health.
11-lug-2023
Settore AGR/02 - Agronomia E Coltivazioni Erbacee
Giambalvo D., Amato G., Ingraffia R., Lo Porto A., Mirabile G., Ruisi P., et al. (2023). Nitrogen fertilization and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi do not mitigate the adverse effects of soil contamination with polypropylene microfibers on maize growth. ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, 334 [10.1016/j.envpol.2023.122146].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/606355
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