Plastic residues could accumulate in soils as a consequence of using plastic mulching, which results in a serious environmental concern for agroecosystems. As an alternative, biodegradable plastic films stand as promising products to minimize plastic debris accumulation and reduce soil pollution. However, the effects of residues from traditional and biodegradable plastic films on the soil-plant system are not well studied. In this study, we used a controlled pot experiment to investigate the effects of macro- and micro- sized residues of low-density polyethylene and biodegradable plastic mulch films on the rhizosphere bacterial communities, rhizosphere volatile profiles and soil chemical properties. Interestingly, we identified significant effects of biodegradable plastic residues on the rhizosphere bacterial communities and on the blend of volatiles emitted in the rhizosphere. For example, in treatments with biodegradable plastics, bacteria genera like Bacillus and Variovorax were present in higher relative abundances and volatile compounds like dodecanal were exclusively produced in treatment with biodegradable microplastics. Furthermore, significant differences in soil pH, electrical conductivity and C:N ratio were observed across treatments. Our study provides evidence for both biotic and abiotic impacts of plastic residues on the soil-plant system, suggesting the urgent need for more research examining their environmental impacts on agroecosystems.
Bibliographical note6829, ME