Table_1_Negative Effects of Copper Oxide Nanoparticles on Carbon and Nitrogen Cycle Microbial Activities in Contrasting Agricultural Soils and in Presence of Plants.DOCX
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Metal-oxide nanoparticles (NPs) such as copper oxide (CuO) NPs offer promising perspectives for the development of novel agro-chemical formulations of pesticides and fertilizers. However, their potential impact on agro-ecosystem functioning still remains to be investigated. Here, we assessed the impact of CuO-NPs (0.1, 1, and 100 mg/kg dry soil) on soil microbial activities involved in the carbon and nitrogen cycles in five contrasting agricultural soils in a microcosm experiment over 90 days. Additionally, in a pot experiment, we evaluated the influence of plant presence on the toxicity of CuO-NPs on soil microbial activities. CuO-NPs caused significant reductions of the three microbial activities measured (denitrification, nitrification, and soil respiration) at 100 mg/kg dry soil, but the low concentrations (0.1 and 1 mg/kg) had limited effects. We observed that denitrification was the most sensitive microbial activity to CuO-NPs in most soil types, while soil respiration and nitrification were mainly impacted in coarse soils with low organic matter content. Additionally, large decreases in heterotrophic microbial activities were observed in soils planted with wheat, even at 1 mg/kg for soil substrate-induced respiration, indicating that plant presence did not mitigate or compensate CuO-NP toxicity for microorganisms. These two experiments show that CuO-NPs can have detrimental effects on microbial activities in soils with contrasting physicochemical properties and previously exposed to various agricultural practices. Moreover, we observed that the negative effects of CuO-NPs increased over time, indicating that short-term studies (hours, days) may underestimate the risks posed by these contaminants in soils.
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