Skip to main content

Tire abrasion particles negatively affect plant growth even at low concentrations and alter soil biogeochemical cycling

Abstract

Tire particles (TPs) are a major source of microplastic on land, and considering their chemical composition, they represent a potential hazard for the terrestrial environment. We studied the effects of TPs at environmentally relevant concentrations along a wide concentration gradient (0–160 mg g−1) and tested the effects on plant growth, soil pH and the key ecosystem process of litter decomposition and soil respiration. The addition of TPs negatively affected shoot and root growth already at low concentrations. Tea litter decomposition slightly increased with lower additions of TPs but decreased later on. Soil pH increased until a TP concentration of 80 mg g−1 and leveled off afterwards. Soil respiration clearly increased with increasing concentration of added TPs. Plant growth was likely reduced with starting contamination and stopped when contamination reached a certain level in the soil. The presence of TPs altered a number of biogeochemical soil parameters that can have further effects on plant performance. Considering the quantities of yearly produced TPs, their persistence, and toxic potential, we assume that these particles will eventually have a significant impact on terrestrial ecosystems.

References

  • Audet, P., Charest, C., 2008. Allocation plasticity and plant-metal partitioning: Meta-analytical perspectives in phytoremediation. Environmental Pollution 156, 290–296.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Babich, H., Stotzky, G., 1978. Toxicity of zinc to fungi, bacteria, and coliphages: influence of chloride ions. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 36, 906–914.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baensch-Baltruschat, B., Kocher, B., Stock, F., Reifferscheid, G., 2020. Tyre and road wear particles (TRWP)—A review of generation, properties, emissions, human health risk, ecotoxicity, and fate in the environment. Science of the Total Environment 733, 137823.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blettler, M.C.M., Abrial, E., Khan, F.R., Sivri, N., Espinola, L.A., 2018. Freshwater plastic pollution: Recognizing research biases and identifying knowledge gaps. Water Research 143, 416–424.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bowman, D.C., Evans, R.Y., Dodge, L.L., 1994. Growth of chrysanthemum with ground automobile tires used as a container soil amendment. HortScience 29, 774–776.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brandsma, S.H., Brits, M., Groenewoud, Q.R., van Velzen, M.J.M., Leonards, P.E.G., de Boer, J., 2019. Chlorinated paraffins in car tires recycled to rubber granulates and playground tiles. Environmental Science & Technology 53, 7595–7603.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Büks, F., Loes van Schaik, N., Kaupenjohann, M., 2020. What do we know about how the terrestrial multicellular soil fauna reacts to microplastic? Soil (Göttingen) 6, 245–267.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Charters, F.J., Cochrane, T.A., O’Sullivan, A.D., 2015. Particle size distribution variance in untreated urban runoff and its implication on treatment selection. Water Research 85, 337–345.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Councell, T.B., Duckenfield, K.U., Landa, E.R., Callender, E., 2004. Tire-wear particles as a source of zinc to the environment. Environmental Science & Technology 38, 4206–4214.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • CSTEE, 2003. Opinion of the Scientific Committee on toxicity, ecotoxicity and the environment (CSTEE) on ‘Questions to the CSTEE relating to scientific evidence of risk to health and the environment from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in extender oils and tyres’. European Commission Health & Consumer Protection Directorate-General, Directorate C- Public Health and Risk Assessment, Brussels

  • de Souza Machado, A.A., Lau, C.W., Kloas, W., Bergmann, J., Bachelier, J.B., Faltin, E., Becker, R., Görlich, A.S., Rillig, M.C., 2019. Microplastics can change soil properties and affect plant performance. Environmental Science & Technology 53, 6044–6052.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Souza Machado, A.A., Lau, C.W., Till, J., Kloas, W., Lehmann, A., Becker, R., Rillig, M.C., 2018. Impacts of Microplastics on the Soil Biophysical Environment. Environmental Science & Technology 52, 9656–9665.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ding, J., Zhu, D., Wang, H.T., Lassen, S.B., Chen, Q.L., Li, G., Lv, M., Zhu, Y.G., 2020. Dysbiosis in the gut microbiota of soil fauna explains the toxicity of tire tread particles. Environmental Science & Technology 54, 7450–7460.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • EC, 2002. Heavy Metals in Waste, Project ENV.E.3/ETU/2000/0058. European Commission DG ENV. E3, EN 15933:2012 Sludge, treated biowaste and soil- Determination of pH.

  • Evangeliou, N., Grythe, H., Klimont, Z., Heyes, C., Eckhardt, S., Lopez-Aparicio, S., Stohl, A., 2020. Atmospheric transport is a major pathway of microplastics to remote regions. Nature Communications 11, 3381.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hartmann, N.B., Hüffer, T., Thompson, R.C., Hassellöv, M., Verschoor, A., Daugaard, A.E., Rist, S., Karlsson, T., Brennholt, N., Cole, M., Herrling, M.P., Hess, M.C., Ivleva, N.P., Lusher, A.L., Wagner, M., 2019. Are we speaking the same language? Recommendations for a definition and categorization framework for plastic debris. Environmental Science & Technology 53, 1039–1047.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hastie, T., Tibshirani, R., 1986. Generalized additive models. Statistical Science 1, 297–310.

    Google Scholar 

  • Haward, M., 2018. Plastic pollution of the world’s seas and oceans as a contemporary challenge in ocean governance. Nature Communications 9, 3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Klöckner, P., Reemtsma, T., Eisentraut, P., Braun, U., Ruhl, A.S., Wagner, S., 2019. Tire and road wear particles in road environment — Quantification and assessment of particle dynamics by Zn determination after density separation. Chemosphere 222, 714–721.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kocher, B., Siewert, C., Lorenz, M., Wolf, U., 2001. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements. Guelph, Canada, p 571.

  • Kole, P.J., Lohr, A.J., Van Belleghem, F., Ragas, A.M.J., 2017. Wear and tear of tyres: A Stealthy source of microplastics in the environment. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 14, 1265.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kreider, M.L., Panko, J.M., McAtee, B.L., Sweet, L.I., Finley, B.L., 2010. Physical and chemical characterization of tire-related particles: Comparison of particles generated using different methodologies. Science of the Total Environment 408, 652–659.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Krishna, M.P., Mohan, M., 2017. Litter decomposition in forest ecosystems: a review. Energy, Ecology & Environment 2, 236–249.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lehmann, A., Leifheit, E.F., Feng, L., Wulf, A., Bergmann, J., Rillig, M. C., 2020. Microplastic fiber and drought effects on plants and soil are only slightly modified by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Soil Ecology Letters. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42832-020-0060-4

  • Leifheit, E.F., Verbruggen, E., Rillig, M.C., 2015. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce decomposition of woody plant litter while increasing soil aggregation. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 81, 323–328.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Panko, J.M., Chu, J., Kreider, M.L., Unice, K.M., 2013. Measurement of airborne concentrations of tire and road wear particles in urban and rural areas of France, Japan, and the United States. Atmospheric Environment 72, 192–199.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Qi, Y., Yang, X., Pelaez, A.M., Huerta Lwanga, E., Beriot, N., Gertsen, H., Garbeva, P., Geissen, V., 2018. Macro- and micro- plastics in soil-plant system: Effects of plastic mulch film residues on wheat (Triticum aestivum) growth. Science of the Total Environment 645, 1048–1056.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • R Core Team, 2020. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL https://www.R-project.org/.

  • Rhodes, E.P., Ren, Z., Mays, D.C., 2012. Zinc leaching from tire crumb rubber. Environmental Science & Technology 46, 12856–12863.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rillig, M.C., Lehmann, A., 2020. Microplastic in terrestrial ecosystems. Science 368, 1430–1431.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rillig, M.C., Lehmann, A., Ryo, M., Bergmann, J., 2019. Shaping up: Toward considering the shape and form of pollutants. Environmental Science & Technology 53, 7925–7926.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schulz, M., 1987. Effects of ground rubber on Phaseolus vulgaris. Zeitschrift für Pflanzenernährung und Bodenkunde 150, 37–41.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smolders, E., Degryse, F., 2002. Fate and Effect of Zinc from Tire Debris in Soil. Environmental Science & Technology 36, 3706–3710.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tao, J., Zuo, J., He, Z., Wang, Y., Liu, J., Liu, W., Cornelissen, J.H.C., 2019. Traits including leaf dry matter content and leaf pH dominate over forest soil pH as drivers of litter decomposition among 60 species. Functional Ecology 33, 1798–1810.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Team, R.C., (2017). R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria

    Google Scholar 

  • van Kleunen, M., Brumer, A., Gutbrod, L., Zhang, Z., 2020. A microplastic used as infill material in artificial sport turfs reduces plant growth. Plants People Planet 2, 157–166.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wagner, S., Hüffer, T., Klöckner, P., Wehrhahn, M., Hofmann, T., Reemtsma, T., 2018. Tire wear particles in the aquatic environment- A review on generation, analysis, occurrence, fate and effects. Water Research 139, 83–100.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wasserstein, R.L., Schirm, A.L., Lazar, N.A., 2019. Moving to a world beyond “p < 0.05”. American Statistician 73, 1–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wik, A., Dave, G., 2009. Occurrence and effects of tire wear particles in the environment — A critical review and an initial risk assessment. Environmental Pollution 157, 1–11.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wood, S., 2017. Generalized Additive Models. Chapman and Hall/CRC.

  • Wood, S., 2018. mgcv: Mixed GAM Computation Vehicle with Automatic Smoothness Estimation. v1.8–23.

  • Wood, S.N., 2011. Fast stable restricted maximum likelihood and marginal likelihood estimation of semiparametric generalized linear models. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series B, Statistical Methodology 73, 3–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Xian, X., In Shokohifard, G., 1989. Effect of pH on chemical forms and plant availability of cadmium, zinc, and lead in polluted soils. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 45, 265–273.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

EFL acknowledges funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (LE 3859/1-1). MCR acknowledges support from an ERC Advanced Grant (694368). Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eva F. Leifheit.

Additional information

Highlights

• Tire abrasion particles reduced above-ground and belowground biomass.

• Soil respiration and soil pH increased with increasing amount of added tire particles.

• Litter decomposition is affected by addition of tire particles.

• Effects are apparent already at the lowest added concentration.

Author contributions

EFL and MCR designed the study. HLK and EFL performed the study. HLK, EF and EFL performed the laboratory work. MR performed the statistical analysis. EFL led the writing of the manuscript and wrote the first draft. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

Data availability

‘Tire-particles-in-soil’. Github repository. Data set and R code available at https://github.com/Dr-Eva-F-Leifheit/tire-particles-insoil.

Supporting Information

Rights and permissions

Open access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Leifheit, E.F., Kissener, H.L., Faltin, E. et al. Tire abrasion particles negatively affect plant growth even at low concentrations and alter soil biogeochemical cycling. Soil Ecol. Lett. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42832-021-0114-2

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42832-021-0114-2

Keywords

  • Microplastic pollution
  • Tire particles
  • Plant growth
  • Soil respiration
  • Soil pH
  • Litter decomposition