Standing

Graduate (Masters)

Type of Proposal

Poster Presentation

Faculty

Faculty of Science

Faculty Sponsor

Cameron Proctor

Abstract/Description of Original Work

Introduction

Microplastics are introduced to agricultural fields through several pathways such as the addition of biosolids as a source of nutrients. Crops grown in soils with biosolids alter their rooting strategy to uptake these additional nutrients which can alter a number of important traits related to nutrient uptake at the root-system and root segment level. This can be seen in changes in root length density. The attraction of roots to biosolids may increase root exposure to microplastics, especially as smaller microplastics are liable to travel into the rhizosphere and potentially accumulate against the external surface through root water transport and uptake. Surface accumulation may interfere with the resource uptake from soil, or hinder the excretion of extracellular solutes that are elements interactions with soil organisms.

Method

Through a dose-response study, the treatment effects of biosolid microplastics on the root systems of wheat, soybeans, alfalfa were investigated in soil spiked with two plastics at two concentrations (2,000 particles/kg per soil dry weight which reflects approximately 4 biosolid applications and 15,000 particles/kg per soil dry weight which represents biosolid concentration levels. A control and treatment of direct biosolid application were also included for a total of six treatments. Using the rhizobox approach, plants were grown from seed in a controlled greenhouse. To assess root stress responses, rhizoboxes were scanned weekly over 10 weeks to trace the development of individual roots.

Conclusions

Based on the stage of the analysis no conclusions can be drawn.

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Root System Response of Three Agricultural Crops to Microplastic Type and Concentrations

Introduction

Microplastics are introduced to agricultural fields through several pathways such as the addition of biosolids as a source of nutrients. Crops grown in soils with biosolids alter their rooting strategy to uptake these additional nutrients which can alter a number of important traits related to nutrient uptake at the root-system and root segment level. This can be seen in changes in root length density. The attraction of roots to biosolids may increase root exposure to microplastics, especially as smaller microplastics are liable to travel into the rhizosphere and potentially accumulate against the external surface through root water transport and uptake. Surface accumulation may interfere with the resource uptake from soil, or hinder the excretion of extracellular solutes that are elements interactions with soil organisms.

Method

Through a dose-response study, the treatment effects of biosolid microplastics on the root systems of wheat, soybeans, alfalfa were investigated in soil spiked with two plastics at two concentrations (2,000 particles/kg per soil dry weight which reflects approximately 4 biosolid applications and 15,000 particles/kg per soil dry weight which represents biosolid concentration levels. A control and treatment of direct biosolid application were also included for a total of six treatments. Using the rhizobox approach, plants were grown from seed in a controlled greenhouse. To assess root stress responses, rhizoboxes were scanned weekly over 10 weeks to trace the development of individual roots.

Conclusions

Based on the stage of the analysis no conclusions can be drawn.