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Environ Pollut. 2019 Jan 26;247:890-897. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.01.097. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of polyethylene microplastics on the gut microbial community, reproduction and avoidance behaviors of the soil springtail, Folsomia candida.

Author information

1
State Key Lab of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100085, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China.
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China; Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1799 Jimei Road, Xiamen, 361021, China.
3
State Key Lab of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100085, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China. Electronic address: minqiao@rcees.ac.cn.

Abstract

Microplastics (MPs) are an emerging contaminant and are confirmed to be ubiquitous in the environment. Adverse effects of MPs on aquatic organisms have been widely studied, whereas little research has focused on soil invertebrates. We exposed the soil springtail Folsomia candida to artificial soils contaminated with polyethylene MPs (<500 μm) for 28 d to explore the effects of MPs on avoidance, reproduction, and gut microbiota. Springtails exhibited avoidance behaviors at 0.5% and 1% MPs (w/w in dry soil), and the avoidance rate was 59% and 69%, respectively. Reproduction was inhibited when the concentration of MPs reached 0.1% and was reduced by 70.2% at the highest concentration of 1% MPs compared to control. The half-maximal effective concentration (EC50) value based on reproduction for F. candida was 0.29% MPs. At concentrations of 0.5% dry weight in the soil, MPs significantly altered the microbial community and decreased bacterial diversity in the springtail gut. Specifically, the relative abundance of Wolbachia significantly decreased while the relative abundance of Bradyrhizobiaceae, Ensifer and Stenotrophomonas significantly increased. Our results demonstrated that MPs exerted a significant toxic effect on springtails and can change their gut microbial community. This can provide useful information for risk assessment of MPs in terrestrial ecosystems.

KEYWORDS:

Avoidance; Gut microbiota; Microplastics; Reproduction; Springtail

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