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#microplastic #soil #rhizosphere #plastic pollution

Duration: From Feb 1, 2020 until Jan 31, 2024
Region: Our research takes place in the greenhouse; we are using soils from 3 agriculturally important soil types in Germany.

About the Project:

µPlastic - effects of microplastic in the rhizosphere of crop plants

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.


  • Prof. Dr. Matthias C Rillig

    Freie Universität Berlin Institut für Biologie, Altensteinstr. 6, 14195 Berlin