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?". To better understand the fate of MP and assess the impacts of MP on C cycling in soil, we studied microbial interactions of MP-soil mixtures (MP-amended soil) and individual MP particles of MP with soil microorganisms in a microcosm experiment. We investigated the biodegradability of hydrolysable and non-hydrolysable MP (PLA/PBAT and LDPE) in two different size fractions and the potential effects of MP on microorganisms in dry and wet soil. We hypothesized that (H1) only PLA/PBAT will be mineralized, while LDPE persists, (H2) due to biodegradation of PLA/PBAT, soil microorganisms respond more strongly to PLA/PBAT than to LDPE, and (H3) surfaces of individual PLA/PBAT particles exhibit morphological changes and enhanced activities 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", which contains particle size and shape analyses. You find information about their contents and on how to access and run the data analyses in the "README.html" file.