Hydrolysable microplastics in soil – low biodegradation but formation of a specific microbial habitat?
We provide reproducible R-codes and data sets accompanying the research article "Hydrolysable microplastics in soil - low biodegradation but formation of a specific habitat?". In a laboratory biodegradation experiment, we explored biophysical interactions of microorganisms with microplastics (MP) in soil. Our objectives were to investigate the biodegradability of representative conventional and biodegradable MP (LDPE, PLA/PBAT) in two different sicze fractions and their potential effects on microbial community structure and microbial processes in soil under dry and wet conditions. We examined microibal processes of MP-soil mixtures (MP-amended soil) and individual MP particles. We hypothesized that (H1) only hydrolysable MP (PLA/PBAT) are mineralized, while non-hydrolysable MP (LDPE) persist, (H2) MP affect soil microbial activity and community structure with stronger effects of PLA/PBAT on soil microorganisms in comparison to LDPE, and (H3) surfaces of PLA/PBAT particles exhibit morphological changes and enhanced activity of specific hydrolytic enzymes (lipases). We expected that interactions of soil microorganisms with MP-amended soil and MP particles are strongest in wet soil (i.e., non-limiting microbial activity) and small MP particle size (i.e., high specific surface area). We organized research data and analyses according to our hypotheses in three folders ("MineralizationData" (H1), "MicrobialData" (H2), and "EnzymeParticleData" (H3)). In addition, you find the folder "ParticleMeasurement". You find information about their contents and on how to access and run the data analyses in the "README.html" file.