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Microplastics (MPs) are a widespread pollutant in terrestrial ecosystems. However, knowledge on how MPs impact soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition and the priming effect (PE) in rice paddy soil remains limited. By employing a three-source-partitioning approach, we investigated the interactive impact of MP dosage (none, low [0.01% w/w] or high [1% w/w]), labile C ( 14C-labeled glucose), and 13C-labeled rice straw addition on SOM decomposition and PE. Compared to soil without C addition (i.e., control), total SOM-derived CO 2 in low-MP soil declined by 13.2% and 7.1% after straw and glucose addition, respectively. Under combined glucose and rice straw addition, glucose-induced PE was up to 10 times stronger in the presence of low-MPs compared to that in high-MPs. However, glucose induced negative PE on rice straw decomposition in the presence of MPs. SOM decomposition was much higher under low MP dosage than under high MP dosage. However, MPs had a negligible effect on the mineralization of exogenous C substrate (glucose or straw). This study provides a novel and valuable insight on how MPs affect SOM turnover and C sequestration in paddy soil, highlighting the significance of interactions between environmental pollutants and biogeochemical processes that affect CO 2 fluxes.


  • Priming effect, Soil, Ecosystem, C cycling, Oryza, Soil organic carbon, Straw returning, Carbon, Plastics, Microplastics, Soil Microbiology, (13)C & (14)C isotopic labeling
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126221
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Early online date26 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2021
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