Paola Micaela Mafla Endara
Plastic pollution is becoming one of the biggest environmental problems. New evidence suggests that terrestrial ecosystems are large reservoirs of plastics, specifically micro- and nanoplastics, but their origin, occurrence and fate are mostly unknown. According to recent studies microplastics might negatively influence soil organisms´s performance by reducing their fitness, much less is known about the impact of microplastics on soil microorganisms. Considering that soil microbial communities are responsible for fundamental soil processes such as nutrient cycling and carbon storage, and that the accumulation and potential toxicity of micro- and nanoplastics in soils can affect their habitat and therefore their functions, there is a strong call for investigation.
My PhD project aims to investigate the effects of different types of micro(nano)plastics on soil microbiota´s performance, their ecosystem services, their community composition and their interaction with the soil system. To achieve this, we will use microfluidic techniques to fabricate a novel tool called “soil chip” which contains different microstructures that simulate the soil pore space. The transparency of the chip will allow us to visualize and investigate soil microbial activity under the presence of micro(nano)plastics and soil particles. Besides, we will construct artificial mesocosms to assses the effect of plastic particles on soil functions in a more realistic environment. The final goal will be to communicate our findings to prevent potential risks and hazards of agricultural and societal practices for ecosystem functions and biological conservation
Sölvegatan 37, Lund