Concerns regarding microplastic contamination have spread from aquatic environments to terrestrial systems with a growing number of studies have been reported. Notwithstanding, the potential effects on soil ecosystems remain largely unexplored. In this study, the effects of polyethylene microplastics on soil enzymatic activities and the bacterial community were evaluated, and the microbiota colonizing on microplastics were also investigated. Microplastic amendment (2000 fragments per kg soil) significantly increased the urease and catalase activities in soil after 15 days, and no discernible alteration of invertase activities was detected. Results from high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA revealed that the alpha diversities (richness, evenness, and diversity) of the microbiota in soil were not obviously changed by the PE amendment, whereas the diversity indexes of microbiota on plastic fragments were significantly lower than those in the control and amended soils. Different taxonomic composition was observed in between the control and amended soils after 90 days of incubation. Bacterial assemblages with distinct community structure colonized the PE microplastics. Additionally, several taxa including plastic- degrading bacteria and pathogens were more abundant on microplastics. Simultaneously, the pre- dicted functional profiles showed that the pathways of amino acid metabolism and xenobiotics biodegradation and metabolism were higher on the microplastics. These results indicated that micro- plastics in soil, compared with those in aquatic environments, can also act as a distinct microbial habitat, potentially altering the ecological functions of soil ecosystems.
Microplastics, as an emerging pollutant of global importance, have been well documented in aquatic ecosystems. However, little is known about the effects of microplastics on agroecosystems, particularly for soil microbial com- munities. Herein, microplastics collected from cotton fields in Xinjiang, China, were analysed with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and high-throughput sequencing to investigate the attached bacterial communities. Microplastic surfaces, especially pits and flakes, were colonized by various microorganisms, suggesting active hy- drolysis of plastic debris. The bacterial communities colonizing microplastics were significantly different in struc- ture from those in the surrounding soil, plant litter and macroplastics. In addition, statistical analysis of differentially abundant OTUs showed that microplastics serve as a “special microbial accumulator” in farmland soil, enriching some taxa that degrade polyethylene, such as Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria. Co-occurrence network analysis revealed that the biotic interactions between microorganisms on microplastics are as complex as those in soil, and Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi, Gemmatimonadetes, and Bacteroidetes are consid- ered keystone species in bacterial communities. Collectively, the findings imply that microplastics acted as a dis- tinct habitat for bacteria in farmland soil, which increases our understanding of microplastic pollution.
Ectomycorrhizal fungi can enhance the tolerance of plants to heavy metal stress by reducing the accumulation of heavy metals in the aerial parts of the plants. Extracellular chelation is a major mechanism of heavy metal tolerance in ectomycorrhizal fungi in which extracellular slime plays a fundamental role. The objectives of this study were to investigate the potential metal-binding ability and the protein composition of extracellular slime. The extracellular slime of Laccaria bicolor (L. bicolor) cultivated under Cd2+ and Cu2+ stress was separated using various ultrasonic pre-treatments. The protein content, composition, and metal content of the extracellular slime were measured. The results showed that the protein content in the extracellular slime significantly increased under both Cd2+ and Cu2+ stress. The SDS-PAGE profile showed that Cd2+ and Cu2+ stress induced the expression of several new proteins. Heavy metal quantification revealed that the Cd content fixed in the extracellular slime accounted for 22–28% of the metal fixed by the fungal mycelia. Meanwhile, no Cu was detected in the fungal extracellular slime, implying that the extracellular slime may not be effective for the fixation of essential metallic elements such as Cu. Taken together, these results provided evidence that L. bicolor was able to ameliorate the intracellular Cd content by stimulating extracellular slime exudation and altering the composition of the proteins therein. Nevertheless, this blocking strategy may be effective only for the non-essential element Cd and was ineffective for the physiological element Cu.
Soil archaea plays a vital role in the functioning of dryland ecosystems, which are expected to expand and get drier in the future as a result of climate change. However, compared with bacteria and fungi, the impacts of increasing aridity on archaea in these ecosystems remain largely unknown. Here, soil samples were collected along a typical aridity gradient in semi-arid regions in Inner Mongolia, China, to investigate whether and how the increasing aridity affects archaeal communities. The results showed that archaeal richness linearly decreased with increasing aridity. After partialling out the effects of soil properties based on partial least squares regression, the significant aridity-richness relationship vanished. The composition of archaeal communities was distributed according to the aridity gradient. These variations were largely driven by the changes in the relative abundance of Thaumarchaeota, Euryarchaeota and unclassified phyla. Niche-based processes were predominant in structuring the observed archaeal aridity-related pattern. The structural equation models further showed that aridity indirectly reduced archaeal richness through improving soil electrical conductivity (EC) and structured community composition by changing soil total nitrogen (TN). These results suggested that soil salinization and N-losses might be important mechanisms underlying the increasing aridity-induced alterations in archaeal communities, and highlighted the importance of soil niches in mediating the indirect impacts of increasing aridity on archaea.
Soil organic matter (SOM) play an important role in soil ecology and global carbon dynamic. As one of the most sever and irreversible land use change, urbanization could alter the regional carbon storage and composition pattern. However how urbanization influence on SOM is still unclear. In this study, we collected soil samples from highly urbanized area of Beijing, China and explore the quantity and quality variations of SOM by using fluorescence spectroscopy in combine with parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC). The results shown that the soil physic-chemical properties were shaped by urbanization. Comparing to nature soil, moisture content, total organic carbon and total nitrogen in urban and rural soil significantly decreased. The fluorescence spectrum demonstrated that SOM quality was also altered by urbanization induced environmental changes. Five fluorescent compounds in SOM was identified by PARAFAC model and three of them was assigned to humic-like substances. The fluorescence intensity of humic-like substances in nature land was significantly higher than of rural and urban land, meanwhile microbial related substance accumulated in urban land in comparison with rural and nature land. The multivariate analyses further reveal the relationship between soil physic-chemical properties and SOM composition. These results suggest that urbanization could not only decrease the SOM quantity but also change the SOM composition. The SOM loss caused by urbanization was mainly consist of humic-like substance loss. Besides urbanization also stimulate the accumulation of microbial related substance in SOM which highlight the importance of microorganism is SOM dynamic.