Understanding and mitigating microplastic effects on rhizosphere processes and interactions in agricultural soils

A project funded by the BMBF – Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Last update: 18.12.2020

Project partners are Prof. Michael Schloter (Helmholtz Zentrum München) and Prof. Nicolas Brüggemann (Forschungszentrum Jülich)


Microplastic has been shown to occur in a wide range of Earth system compartments, including in agroecosystems. We know relatively little about how microplastic influences soil processes and soil biodiversity, and how these changes in turn affect crop plant performance in Germany. Our project focuses on rhizosphere processes and is expected to yield mechanistic insights into microplastic effects.

Project aim

Understanding effects of microplastic in the rhizosphere of crop plants. We use three different soil types, several crop plants and also different microplastic types. We study rhizosphere processes, crop performance and soil properties.

Our project will deliver fundamental insights into microplastic effects in the rhizosphere of crop plants growing in agriculturally relevant soils. In addition, we expect to be able to formulate recommendations about different species and cultivars of crops, and about the differential susceptibility of different soil types.

Publications (update 21.11.2020)

YouTube videos

Microplastic in terrestrial ecosystems:

Is microplastic a distraction from climate change?

Microplastic pollution: ecotoxicology or global change?

Microplastic: how to interpret positive effects