Response of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) growth to soil contaminated with microplastics

Fanrong Meng*, Xiaomei Yang, Michel Riksen, Minggang Xu, Violette Geissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)


Although concerns surrounding microplastics (MPs) in terrestrial ecosystems have been growing in recent years, little is known about the responses of plant growth to MPs pollution. Here, we conducted a pot experiment in a net house under natural condition by adding two types of MPs, low-density polyethylene (LDPE-MPs) and polylactic acid (PLA) mixed with poly-butylene-adipate-co-terephthalate (PBAT, Bio-MPs), to sandy soil at 5 doses (0.5%, 1.0%, 1.5%, 2.0%, 2.5% ω/ω dry soil weight). The effects of LDPE-MPs and Bio-MPs on common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L) were tested. Compared to control (no MPs addition), LDPE-MPs showed no significant effects on shoot, root and fruit biomass while ≥1.0% LDPE-MPs showed significant higher specific root nodules (n·g−1 dry root biomass) and only 2.5% LDPE-MPs showed significant higher specific root length (cm·g−1 dry root biomass). 1.0% LDPE-MPs caused significant higher leaf area and 0.5% LDPE-MPs caused significant lower leaf relative chlorophyll content. For Bio-MPs treatment, compared to control, ≥1.5% Bio-MPs showed significant lower shoot and root biomass. ≥2.0% Bio-MPs showed significant lower leaf area and fruit biomass. All Bio-MPs treatments showed significant higher specific root length and specific root nodules as compared to control. The results of the current research show that both MPs induced the responses of common bean growth, and ≥1.5% Bio-MPs exerted stronger effects. Further studies of their ecological impacts on soil-plant systems are urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number142516
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number2
Early online date24 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2021


  • Biodegradable microplastics
  • Microplastics
  • Plant growth
  • Soil-plant system


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