Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Field response of N2O emissions, microbial communities, soil biochemical processes and winter barley growth to the addition of conventional and biodegradable microplastics

Greenfield, L.M., Graf, M., Rengaraj, S., Bargiela, R., Williams, G., Golyshin, P.N., Chadwick, D.R. and Jones, D.L. (2022) Field response of N2O emissions, microbial communities, soil biochemical processes and winter barley growth to the addition of conventional and biodegradable microplastics. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 336 . Art. 108023.

[img]
Preview
PDF - Published Version
Download (4MB) | Preview
Free to read: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2022.108023
*No subscription required

Abstract

Microplastic contamination in agroecosystems is becoming more prevalent due to the direct use of plastics in agriculture (e.g., mulch films) and via contamination of amendments (e.g., compost, biosolids application). Long-term use of agricultural plastics and microplastic pollution could lead to soil degradation and reduced crop health due to the slow degradation of conventional plastics creating legacy plastic. Biodegradable plastics are more commonly being used, both domestically and in agriculture, to minimise plastic pollution due to their biodegradable nature. However, the influence of a biodegradable plastics on soil function at the field scale is largely unknown. We investigated the effect of conventional (polyethylene) and biodegradable (PHBV) microplastics on N2O emissions and soil biochemical processes in a field trial of winter barley. Microplastic was added to the soil at realistic levels (100 kg ha-1) for both conventional and biodegradable treatments. N2O emissions were measured throughout the growing season alongside key soil quality indicators (microbial community composition, ammonium, nitrate, moisture content, pH and EC). Overall, microplastic addition had no observable effect on crop yield, microbial communities or soil biochemical properties. Yet, we found cumulative N2O emissions were reduced by two-thirds following conventional microplastic addition compared to the no-plastic and biodegradable microplastic treatments. We believe this response is due to the lower soil moisture levels over the winter in the conventional microplastic treatment. Overall, the response of key soil parameters to microplastic addition show fewer negative effects to those seen in high dose laboratory mesocosm experiments. Thus, it is imperative that long-term field experiments at realistic dose rates be undertaken to quantify the real risk that microplastics pose to agroecosystem health.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Sustainable Farming Systems
SoilsWest
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s).
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/65258
Item Control Page Item Control Page

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year