Fertilization accelerates the decomposition of microplastics in mollisols

Catégorie : Biodégradation des Débris Plastiques
Date :16 juin 2020
Avis TSC : Super ! On aura à la fois l’eutrophisation associée aux excès d’engrais sur les sols et la production de microplastiques en masse ! Je laisse le lecteur apprécier l’éthique de l’approche scientifique. En espérant que cette idée ne passe jamais à l’état d’application.
Zhang, Shaoliang; Wang, Jiuqi; Hao, Xinhua.
The Science of the total environment : 722, 137950.
Agricultural films composed of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) have been widely used in farmland, and LDPE microplastics (LDPE-MPs) produced from LDPE degradation can pollute soils and can exert negative effects on biota. Both nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) can alter the activity of soil microorganisms and may alter the LDPE-MP degradation process in soils. In this study, LDPE-MP surface morphology, particle size, abundance and mass in a mollisol were evaluated after the application of a gradient of N and P fertilizer in a laboratory incubation experiment. The results showed the following: (1) LDPE-MP particles became fragmented into smaller debris with a coarse surface after 40 days of incubation, and the effect was more obvious with increased P or N application; (2) high N and P fertilization significantly reduced the abundance of LDPE-MP particles >100 μm by 38.5-50.0% and increased the abundance of LDPE-MP particles <20 μm by 43.2-59.5% after 40 days of incubation; (3) high N and P fertilization significantly increased the mass of LDPE-MP particles 150 μm by 32.4-37.5%; (4) the mass of LDPE-MPs decreased with increasing incubation time after N and P fertilization, which could be simulated by exponential models (p < 0.05), LDPE degradation was rapid in the first 20 days after N or P fertilization, and both N and P caused a "priming effect" of LDPE degradation; and (5) N and P fertilization increased both the biodiversity and abundance of several predominant genera of soil microorganisms that degrade LDPE. Therefore, N and P fertilization can accelerate LDPE-MP degradation, and the relatively large amounts of fine debris from degraded LDPE-MPs can be problematic for the environment and soil biota. LDPE-MP pollution should be strictly controlled in mollisols, and the degradation mechanisms of LDPE-MPs warrant further study.