February 29, 2024

New research published in Environmental Microbiology suggests that moisture levels in the soil can affect the impact of microplastic pollution on soil fungi. The study found that when soil is well-watered, toxic chemicals from microplastics can leach into the soil and hinder soil fungal richness. On the other hand, in dry soil, the leaching of these chemicals is less pronounced and has a smaller impact on soil fungal structure. The researchers also found that microplastics can help soil hold water for longer, potentially mitigating the effects of drought. However, these interactions present complex challenges for land management. Corresponding author Yudi M. Lozano, PhD, of Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin and the Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research, stated that “microplastics in soil alter soil fungal communities, which negatively affect soil ecosystem functions.” The study implies that the presence of microplastics in soil can have far-reaching impacts on soil health and ecosystem functioning. The findings highlight the need for further research and careful consideration of the potential consequences of microplastic pollution in soil. The full research can be accessed at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1462-2920.16549.

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