Project number: 031B0907

Contact: Prof. Dr. Matthias C Rillig, Institut für Biologie

Freie Universität Berlin

Mail: matthias.rillig@fu-berlin.de

www: RilligLab

Project team: Helmholtz Zentrum München, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Duration: 01/02/2020 - 31/01/2024

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.


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.

Expected results

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.