Work package number

 8

Lead Beneficiary

UoG

Work package title

Dissemination and exploitation

Participant number

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Short name of participant

WU

UBERN

FiBL-CH

UTH

UL

UCSC

FiBL-AT

Person/months per participant

2

3

2

2

2

2

3

Participant number

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

Short name of participant

UoG

FUB

INRAE

POLITO

CHQ

DTU

AGES

Person/months per participant

31

2

2

2

2

2

3

Participant number

15

16

17

18

19

20

 

Short name of participant

NVM

WR

EQY

CAMPO

SPOT

EMU

Person/months per participant

6

2

4

2

0

0

Start month

1

 End month

60

Objectives of the work package:

WP8 will be dedicated to the dissemination, communication and exploitation of the project results (SO8, SO9). The specific objectives of WP8 will be: (i) to develop an advanced and easily accessible project website (Task 8.1) (ii) to develop a good understanding of Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS) to inform the Dissemination and Communication (D&C) Strategy building on the MAA (Task 8.2) (iii) to develop and implement a D&C Strategy based on specified goals maximizing project’s visibility and ensuring that project results reach the intended audience (Tasks 8.3 & 8.4) and (iv) to develop a suite of dissemination products from the research outputs suited to different categories of audience (at local, national and European levels) (Task 8.5). WP8 establishes and coordinates HLMAN.

Task 8.1 Development of a project website, visual identity and intranet portal for information

Task leader: WU | Participant(s): UoG, EQY | Timing: M1-M6

We will establish a project website to a) communicate information about the project aims and news (newsworthy facts and a bi-annual newsletter) b) to act as a platform for disseminating information developed within the project, deliverables and other outputs. It will be designed to suit all relevant audiences including researchers, policy makers, stakeholders and general public. We will also set up and maintain a secure intranet section which will be accessible only by the partners and restricted users. This will facilitate protected dissemination of information (e.g., scientific data, announcements and registration for meetings and workshops, management plan, meeting agendas/minutes, tools for writing and/or downloading project reports, training materials). The site will also provide a platform for CSS knowledge exchange. Specific mailing lists will enable targeted communication between the partners of the project and within WP Teams. The project manager will maintain this website and intranet portal. At the same time a project visual identity will be established to be used on all project communications and dissemination outputs. A professional designer from EQY will work with members of WU to provide a logo with a complete graphical charter.

Task 8.2 Assessment of the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS) for plastic use in agriculture

Task leader: UoG | Participant(s): All | Timing: M3-M9

Drawing on existing literature, workshops with case study stakeholders, and expert interviews with the HLMAN, an assessment will be undertaken of the AKIS with respect to plastic use in soil. The assessment will consider the current sources of knowledge, the key influencers and intermediaries of knowledge, and dissemination and advisory activities, with respect to plastic use; identify how farmers are supported and currently obtain information about potential soil contamination and alternative or best practice techniques; and identify/assess their knowledge needs, and user demands generally. This assessment will inform the development of the D&C Strategy (Task 8.3) by identifying current gaps in knowledge, advice and dissemination, examples of best practice, and key principles for effective knowledge exchange in the community of plastic users. Critically it will ensure that project’s outputs are integrated into existing activities and speed up translation into practice, in line with the aims of EIP-AGRI. The review will take place at the EU, national and regional study site level. This task links closely with WP2 and WP7.

Task 8.3 Development of the Project Dissemination and Communication Strategy

Task leader: UoG | Participant(s): All | Timing: M3-12

The strategy will identify target audiences, and ways to provide messages at different levels of complexity and in the right format. Firstly, it will set out plans and a timetable to raise the visibility of the project through communication of generic project information using websites, social media and other channels. Secondly it will also set out a plan to optimise dissemination to potential beneficiaries. The strategy will be developed at a project wide level, and at partner country and CSS local level. At the project-wide level the strategy will comprise a set of specified goals and objectives with respect to what knowledge will be disseminated, to whom, how and when. WP leaders and the HLMAN will help to co-design the strategy: to identify the planned project-wide and WP specific outputs to reveal what knowledge will be available for dissemination, the target audiences (EU, national and regional level) and their specific knowledge requirements. Effective means of communication will be identified to reach these audiences, ensuring that messages are provided at different levels of complexity, in different languages, and by the appropriate channels. The AKIS assessment (T8.2) will inform the strategy, as will the WP7 assessment of social and economic impacts of plastic use, as this determines user needs. At CSS level individual CSS dissemination and communications plans will be co-designed with stakeholders to tailor them to the agronomic, political and cultural situations of the CSS country and region. CSS stakeholders will contribute into plans, identifying the most suitable formats and channels to disseminate project results within the local area and beyond the CSS. These plans will also ensure dissemination activities link into existing local, regional and national networks and will incorporate best practice and key principles of knowledge exchange identified in T8.3. A timetable will be scheduled to enable planning of dissemination activities and engagement with target audiences throughout the lifetime of the project. A full strategy will be prepared by M12, however, this will be continuously refined incorporating inputs from other WPs. The efficacy of the project’s dissemination and communication strategy will be evaluated during the course of the project using standardized indicators and targeted monitoring activities (see Table 10 table MINAGRIS communication tools and measure of effectiveness).

Task 8.4: Operationalising the Dissemination and Communication strategy

Task leader: UoG | Participant(s): All | Timing: M12-60

To operationalise the strategy the following four steps or sets of activities are proposed:

1. Communication of generic project information - to a wide audience:

·    A project leaflet in English and the national language of the partner and CSS countries will be prepared

·    A newsletter/bulletin will be compiled and disseminated at 6-month intervals to subscribers and partner´s networks.

·    Multimedia (podcasts/video, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, press releases - multi-lingual) hosted on the website

These will commence as early as possible (pre M12) as they relate to communicating the project’s aims and establishing a visual identity. Section 2.2.1 provides details of numbers, monitoring and analytics.

2. Information for practitioners, land managers, consultants and industry practitioner stakeholders– co-designed with users (in line with the HLMAN) and available in CSS and partner country language

The project scientific outputs will be synthesised and translated into easily accessible formats for all stakeholders involved in using plastic in agriculture. The results will be clearly conveyed setting out the impacts of plastics on soil, the environment, and wider society as well as providing economic analysis of these impacts. Formats and channels will include:

·    A farm level App developed in WP3 for practitioners’ visual assessment of plastic in the soil.

·    Operational farm-level DST including documentation

·    BREF document for plastic use in agriculture- guidelines (from WP7), disseminated using: Video stories from farmers in CSS; Infographics – 1-2 page visual formatted for stakeholders and Practice Abstracts for the EIP-AGRI portal using the common format

Channels for dissemination (informed by T8.3) will include

·    demonstration events in CSS for stakeholders outside of the project to facilitate learning and knowledge exchange of project results in collaboration with WP2

·    website and social media, webinars

3. Scientist, regulators, EU and member state authorities, industry

·    A suite of new Standardized Soil Laboratory Ecotoxicity Tests for MNP (Protocols, WP4)

·    Guidelines for agri-environmental risk assessment of plastics in soils (WP4,5,6)

·    Open access culture collection of plastic-degrading soil microorganisms (WP6)

·    Recommendations for an industry code of conduct regarding plastics manufacture, sale and use (WP7, industry brief)

4. Policy recommendations - dissemination to decision-makers, policy-makers

·    Policy guidance translated from the inventory of plastic use (WP3, WP7, policy briefs)

·    Guidelines for policy makers on ESS and overall sustainability (WP7)

5. Scientific information – dissemination to project partners, scientific academic community peers:

·    Project partners will share knowledge using a protected section of the project website.

·    Research outputs will be disseminated to the scientific community through peer-reviewed and open access publications, and presentations at conferences (eg EGU, ISME, FEMS, SETAC).

A final project conference will be held (M58) in Brussels aiming to attract an audience of policy makers, farming and industry representatives, scientists.

Task 8.5 Exploitation and project sustainability planning

Task leader: NVM | Participant(s): All partners | Timing: M24- 60

The task will produce a project Exploitation and Sustainability (E&S) plan which will describe the potential commercial exploitation of products/services created within the project and plans for sustainability of project outputs. Partners and stakeholders will be developing:

·    Ready-to-implement standardized protocols to assess the impact of MNP on the soil biota (TRL 5-6); and validate and develop NP analysis (TRL 5-6)

·    The practical toolbox for farmers is an open assess software tool that allows the farmers to calculate the MNP concentration in soils related to plastic input from different sources (TLR 5-6)

·    Open access collection of soil microorganisms with advanced capacity to degrade plastics, for exploitation by industrial partners in the recovery of pollution or implementation of more sustainable plastic use strategies (TRL 4-5)

Another dimension is ensuring sustainability of the project’s momentum and networks

beyond the project’s life. We will support the networks established to consider

future organisational structures and governance for post-project activities.

The tools and materials will remain available on the website and moderated for 12 months after the project ends. After this time DTU will take over the moderation of these tools and materials and maintain the operation of the website for at least 5 more years.

This task will be coordinated by NVM with the involvement of Industry Partners and key technology developers, who have experience in identifying and realizing business opportunities in the agricultural context. It will be supported by the HLMAN and informed by the MAAB. The E&S plan will identify the key exploitable products and services, the potential target user groups, the market potential, the unique selling points and advantages for end-users. It will be prepared by engaging with external stakeholders (potential target users groups) to ascertain their needs and interests (also taking advantage of using social marketing intelligence methods) building on T8.2. A draft E&S plan will be prepared by M48 and revised with input from the consortium and target groups. The final E&S plan will available by M58.

Deliverable 8.1: MINAGRIS visual identity and project website [M5, WU, OTHER, PU] Deliverable 8.2: Assessment of AKIS for plastic use in agriculture and user demands finalized [M9 UoG, R, PU] Deliverable 8.3: D&C Strategy and Reports on the activities [M12, M36, M60, UoG, R, CO] Deliverable 8.4: E&S plan [M58, UoG, R, CO]

Work package number

7

Lead Beneficiary

FiBL-AT

Work package title

Synthesis of the impact of MNP and other stressors on ESS and overall sustainability analysis

Participant number

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Short name of participant

WU

UBERN

FiBL-CH

UTH

UL

UCSC

FiBL-AT

Person/months per participant

0

2

2

0

3

0

30

Participant number

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

Short name of participant

UoG

FUB

INRAE

POLITO

CHQ

DTU

AGES

Person/months per participant

1

0

0

0

0

25

0

Participant number

15

16

17

18

19

20

 

Short name of participant

NVM

WR

EQY

CAMPO

SPOT

EMU

Person/months per participant

8

1

0

0

0

0

Start month

12

 End month

60

Objectives of the work package:

The overarching objective of WP7 is to link and evaluate environmental and socio-economic consequences of plastic use to ESS and synergies and trade-offs to overall sustainability (SO4, SO5, SO7, SO9). WP7 aims to: (a) quantify direct impacts from using MNP on ESS within life cycle assessments (T7.1); (b) analyse economic, environmental and social impacts of MNP use and alternative options and determine (when possible value chains) synergies and trade-offs between ESS and sustainability aspects in different European biogeographical regions, socio-economic settings and policy context (Task 7.2); and synthesize the lessons learned from WP2-6 and WP7 assessments regarding consequences of sustainable and unsustainable soil management to ESS and sustainability to provide policy recommendations and practice-oriented decision support (T7.3 and 7.4).

Task 7.1. Framework for the quantification of direct impacts from MNP and other stressors on soil ESS within a life cycle perspective

Task leader: DTU | Participant(s): NVM; FiBL-AT, CDE-UB, FIBL-CH | Timing: M12-48

We will adapt and extend available state-of-the-art assessment approaches to (a) associate ESS with life cycle emissions, (b) overcome incomplete cause-effect chains related to soil ecosystems, and (c) consider all relevant impacts from MNP emissions into soil. DTU will consistently link indicators defined in WPs 2-6 for relating MNP pollution with effects on soil chemistry, physics and biodiversity to soil ESS. As input (via the Task 2.4 database), we will use impact results from (i) WP4 of MNP effects on soil microorganisms and fauna, and (ii) WP5 of MNP effects on soil physics, chemistry and plant productivity and physiology (inputs delivered by NVM, FiBL-AT, CDE-UB, FIBL-CH). T7.1 result will be integrated along with T7.2 and 7.3 results into the farm-level decision support tool developed in T7.4.

Task 7.2 Analysis of MNP and other stressors impacts, synergies and trade-offs related to ESS and overall sustainability

Task leader: FiBL-AT | Participant(s): DTU, CDE-UB, NVM, all CSS partners | Timing: M3-M54

Task 7.2 will develop and operationalise a framework for evaluating biophysical, economic and social MNP impacts on ESS and sustainability at field, farm and society level following a multi-criteria assessment with a CSS adapted FiBL LCA farm model at its core. DTU will provide related input from T7.1 to improve toxicity parameters, while FiBL-AT, DTU, CDE-UB and NVM will consistently integrate further indicators (e.g. GHG emissions, working time, fixed and variable costs). The indicator set will be further discussed in an expert workshop including MAP and MAAB members. In collaboration with T2.3, questionnaire templates are developed, tested and integrated in the monitoring plan and iteratively refined if necessary. Farm data will be collected by all CSS partners for CSS farms in an online survey (T3.2), and provided after quality checks (FiBL-AT, DTU), also via the database hosted by CDEUB (T2.4). FiBL, CDE-UB and DTU will train CSS partners on WP7 data requirements. FiBL, DTU, CDE-UB, NVM will analyse impacts to ESS and sustainability trade-offs, identifying synergies of MNP in agriculture and alternative management options. A validation workshop will be organized by FiBL-AT to enable critical reflection, ensure effective group learning, and provide a synthesis a sound basis for T7.3 and T7.4.

Task 7.3 Development of farm-level decision support tool and best available techniques reference document for evaluating MNP and other stressors impacts

Task leader: NVM | Participant(s): DTU, FiBL-AT, UoG, all CSS partners | Timing: M24-M60

Subtask 7.3.1. Farm-level decision support tool (DST, lead: DTU): It aims at developing a decision support tool (DST) for farmers and farm associated stakeholders to evaluate farm-level MNP impacts on productivity, ESS and sustainability performance. The main framework will be developed by DTU, using indicators developed in T7.1 and 7.2, and building on existing tools, and requirements for farm-level decision support (when possible also addressing the value chains level). FiBL-AT will visualize socio-economic aspects. A prototype of the DST is tested by CSS partners in different European biogeographical regions. In collaboration with WP8, background information for farm-level decisions and links to other advisory services will be explored. EQY will develop an online handbook that accounts for different decision contexts and highlights alternative options for farmers. The DST will strengthen capacity building of farmers and farm advisors on ESS and sustainability for MNP use.

Subtask 7.3.2. Best available techniques REFerence document (BREF) for plastic use in agriculture (lead: NVM): BREF will provide evidence-based scientific support to decision-making processes for the use of plastic in agriculture for a wider audience, but especially for industry and technical advisors. It will provide practical guidance and recommendations on techniques for the reduction of MNP emissions to soil and other ecosystems. The BREF may help Technical as well as Standardization Working Groups to derive technical conclusions.

Task 7.4 Evidence-based scientific support synthesis for policy-making processes

Task leader: FiBL-AT | Participant(s): DTU, NVM, FiBL-CH, WR, UoG, CDEUB, CSS partners | Timing: M12-M60

Task 7.4 provides science-based support for the EU policy-making process. It aims to synthesize and integrate results of MINAGRIS WPs 2-8 and T7.1 and T7.2 to draw general recommendations for regulatory and legal frameworks relating to the use of plastics in agriculture. In a first step, FiBL, DTU, NVM and CSS partners will thoroughly review current national and EU policies with relevance for MNP use and alternative technologies. In collaboration with T3.2, participants and CSS partners will assess drivers and barriers of unsustainable and sustainable soil management, respectively, for different biogeographical regions, socio-economic and political contexts. Interviews with farmers and beyond (CSS farms and online survey, MAP, MAAB), will help to collect evidence on how and why sustainable soil management is addressed by the farm or not. In collaboration with UOG, CDE-UB, FiBL-CH, UCSC and NVM an online workshop with HLMAN (T2.1) will be carried out with the aim to inform on ESS and sustainability results and draft recommendations to receive feedback.

Deliverable 7.1: Framework for quantifying impacts of MNP use on ESS [M36, DTU, R, PU] Deliverable 7.2: Synthesis report on ESS and sustainability impacts and trade-offs [M54, FiBL-AT, R, PU] Deliverable 7.3: BREF document for the use of plastic in agriculture (submitted) [M58, NVM, R, PU] Deliverable 7.4: Report-recommendations for policymakers in EU agriculture [M60, FiBL-AT, R, PU]

Work package number

6

Lead Beneficiary

UCSC

Work package title

Degradability, mobility and fate of MNP and other stressors in the soil environment

Participant number

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Short name of participant

WU

UBERN

FiBL-CH

UTH

UL

UCSC

FiBL-AT

Person/months per participant

15

19

0

11

0

34

0

Participant number

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

Short name of participant

UoG

FUB

INRAE

POLITO

CHQ

DTU

AGES

Person/months per participant

0

4

10

12

15

1

0

Participant number

15

16

17

18

19

20

 

Short name of participant

NVM

WR

EQY

CAMPO

SPOT

EMU

Person/months per participant

2

8

0

0

0

0

Start month

6

 End month

60

Objectives of the work package:

The main aim of WP6 will be to assess the environmental fate of MNP, bioplastics and other stressors in terrestrial environments (SO5), with a focus on degradation mechanisms, microbial processes, environmental transport and effects on non-terrestrial targets (SO6). Research activities will be conducted to: (a) assess at fine scale the degradation level of MNP of different chemistry and origins (synthetic and biological) using both newly synthesized 13C labelled plastics and aged plastics from CSS (T6.1); (b) characterize the microbiological composition of the plastisphere, focusing on the isolation and characterization of plastic-degrading microorganisms, the evolution of novel catabolic traits for pollutants sorbed or interacting with the plastics (i.e., pesticides and antibiotics), and the presence and dispersal of human and plant pathogens and/or antibiotic resistance genes (T6.2); (c) assess the soil and aerial transport of MNP, for the latter focusing on pollinating insects as non-terrestrial targets of ecotoxicological relevance (T6.3).

Task 6.1 Assessment of the degradation and disintegration of MNP and other stressors in soils

Task leader: UBERN-GIUB | Participant(s): POLITO, WR, NVM, UBERN-CDEUB | Timing: M9-50

We aim to assess the degradation and disaggregation of MNP in soils based on WP3 findings in the CSS. We will select the most common polymer types found at the CSS (biodegradable materials according to the main standard and non-biodegradable materials) and investigate their decomposition in microcosms, pot and field experiments as described in T4.1. In addition, we will undertake dedicated lab experiments to assess 1) plastic disaggregation, 2) MNP degradation and 3) the state of plastic degradation in CSS as follows:

(1) To evaluate plastics disaggregation soil lab experiments (as described in T4.1) will be employed where soils will be fortified with known size classes of MeP and MP for different time periods; microplastics will be extracted from soils and their size compositions before and after the experiment will be compared.

(2) To assess MNP degradation processes a general characterization in terms of molecular, thermal and chemical properties will be carried out to define the nature of plastic material and the proofs of degradation in lab experiments. A dedicated microcosm experiment, based on 13C-labelled polymers produced in house, will be implemented, to monitor plastic degradation and disaggregation. Partners responsible: GIUB (lab experiment, isotope analysis, NanoSIMS)

(3) The extent of plastics degradation in CSS will be assessed by retrieving plastic samples from CSS and conduct analysis of plastic molecular structure, crystallinity and morphology and size. Partners responsible: UBERN-GIUBN (MP extraction from soil, µFTIR, SEM), POLITO (FTIR, SEM), WR (GPC, DSC, FTIR, SEM).

Task 6.2 Microbial interactions in the plastisphere

Task leader: UCSC | Participant(s): UTH, INRAE, FUB, CHQ | Timing: M6-60

Working with non-labelled aged and spiked plastics, UCSC in collaboration with UTH, INRAE and FUB will determine the composition and diversity of prokaryotes and fungi on the plastisphere using amplicon sequencing analysis. We will focus on microorganisms known to act as plant or human pathogens, with MP facilitating their transportation in soil. Based on the outcome of the microbiome measurements, UCSC and UTH will employ shotgun metagenomics to determine the metabolic and genetic potential of the plastisphere microbiota. In addition, the role of plasmidome in the evolution of novel catabolic traits against organic pollutants or resistance to antibiotics will be determined via plasmidome-targeted metagenomic analysis (UTH). This will be carried out in targeted small-scale soil lab microcosms inoculated with aged MP samples (that have an established community, composition determined at T0). These MP will be placed in soil repeatedly treated with the same pesticides/antibiotics as in the original soil from where they originate. At regular intervals MP will be extracted from soil, and their metagenome and plasmidomes will be determined enabling the identification of metagenomic assembled genomes (MAGs) with interesting traits like plant/human pathogenicity, antibiotic resistance and associated transposable elements etc. Parallel culturomic approaches will lead to the isolation of microorganisms with plastic-degrading abilities following two-step enrichment protocols using 13C labeled polymers (UCSC): INRAE, UCSC and UTH will isolate by density-gradient centrifugation the 13C-DNA of the plastisphere, and analyse it by amplicon sequencing to define the diversity of the most relevant plastic degraders in the plastisphere. Bacterial (UCSC and CHQ) and fungal (FUB) strains will be retrieved and screened; those showing high degradation abilities will be subjected to genome sequencing (UCSC, FUB), and analysed for genes coding for pesticide/antibiotic catabolic enzymes, by UTH and INRAE, who will perform tests for the degradation of these xenobiotics.

Task 6.3 MNP and other stressors transportation and their effects on non-terrestrial biota

Task leader: WU | Participant(s): WU, UBERN-GIUB, FUB, UCSC, DTU UBERN-CDEUB | Timing:M6-M60

In this task we will measure biotic and abiotic MNP transportation in soil at lab and field scale (subtask 6.3.1), and we will evaluate aerial transportation of MNP through bees and the ecotoxicological effects of plastics on these non-terrestrial bioindicators (subtask 6.3.2.). In this frame targeted mesocosm and field experiments will be undertaken as described below.

Subtask 6.3.1. Biotic and Abiotic transportation of MNP and other stressors in soil

Mesocosm experiments: Vertical and horizontal, biotic and abiotic MNP transportation will be determined in mesocosms by WU. Regarding biotic transportation, we will assess the movement of different MNP types, with and without organic stressors, by endogeic and anecic earthworms, and ants in 3 different soil types (texture-based). In collaboration with T6.2 MNP degradation will be assessed inside earthworms’ guts and burrows. MNP transportation by ants will be determined in 300x405x300 mm double-connected formicarium for observing how worker ants move MNP from one site to another; response variables will be distance of MNP transportation and amount of MNP transported. Regarding vertical abiotic transportation, we will determine the leaching of at least 3 types of MNP, with and without organic stressors, through earthworms biostructures in 60x12cm metal columns in controlled environmental conditions in 3 soil types (same as for biotic transportation), simulating rainfall at different intensities. Response variable will be the leaching of MNP (particles per ml). Data will be used by T5.2 for modelling purposes. WU, POLITO and GIUB will support WPs 4 and 5 in the analysis of MNP in dedicated pot experiments described in T4.1

Field experiments: we will measure MNP transportation in tillage and no tillage CSS with 3 different kind of plastics and different soil types, with and without organic stressors (pesticides, antibiotics). Eroded soil sediments will be collected by WU with a portable wind tunnel. The depth of MP transport in the CSS will be analyzed by UBERN-GIUB complementary to the lab experiments in this task and T5.2. The same sites used for the lab experiments in NL and CH, as well as selected CSS (WP3, selection depending on plastic use and soil properties) will be analyzed for general transport and along preferential flow path. The results will be combined with the results from T5.2 about preferential flow and outcomes of lab experiments to assess possible biotic and abiotic depth transport. Data from farmer’s questionnaires (WP3) will be evaluated for the time of plastic use at the individual sites and compare it to the depth of plastic transport to assess temporal dynamics of the transport. At sites with shallow ground water table, groundwater will be sampled and analysed for MP concentrations. The data from soil depth transport and groundwater will be combined to assess a possible threat of MP leaching from agricultural soil to groundwater. In addition, WU, POLITO and UBERN-GIUB will support WPs 4 and 5 in the analysis of MNP in the dedicated field studies described in T4.1.

Subtask 6.3.2. Aerial transport and effects of MNP and other stressors on non-terrestrial biota

Mesocosm/Microcosm experiments: The potential for aerial transportation of MNP through pollinators and the effects of MNP on honeybees (Apis mellifera) will be determined by UCSC. The most common polymer types found at the CSS will be tested at 3 levels with and without organic stressors. Brood frames from experimental apiary at UCSC will be selected and placed in incubators. Newly eclosed adults will be randomized into experimental and control groups. Bees will be exposed via controlled oral administration of MNP. Acute and chronic oral exposure of MNP at sublethal levels will be tested. MNP ingestion and NP translocation in tissues and organs, i.e. gut, haemolymph, and in faeces, will be analysed. Effects on the ultrastructure of the gut epithelium of honeybees will be also investigated. Effects on the bee gut microbiome following MNP ingestion will be analysed at UCSC by amplicon sequencing targeting bacteria, archaea and fungi (T6.2). Moreover, since locomotion is essential for flight and foraging ability, and its impairment may affect pollination, behavioural testing on bees treated with MNP will be performed.

Field experiments: Bees exposed to environmental MNP levels will be used as bio-monitors (Bee-O-monitors) by UCSC. MNP aerial transport will be assessed on the bee body (i.e. on the fore wings) and through translocation in tissues and organs. Chemicals contained in MNP will be characterized for their general toxicity on terrestrial, aquatic and pollinating insect species in support of classification and prioritization of MNP types with respect to their ecotoxicological relevance

Deliverable 6.1: Degradability report of MNP in soils (M48, UBERN-GIUB, R, PU) Deliverable 6.2: List of microorganisms composing the plastisphere microbiome per soil and MP type including culture collection and genomes of selected isolates [M52, UCSC, FUB, OTHER, PU] Deliverable 6.3: Assembled metagenome and plasmidome of the plastisphere [M52, UTH, OTHER, PU] Deliverable 6.4: Biotic and abiotic MNP transportation characterization and monitoring of sublethal effects on bees - Report [M56, WU, R, PU]

Work package number

5

Lead Beneficiary

UL

Work package title

Assessment of the impact of MNP and combined effects with other stressors on soil physical and chemical properties and crop productivity

Participant number

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Short name of participant

WU

UBERN

FiBL-CH

UTH

UL

UCSC

FiBL-AT

Person/months per participant

12

20

8

0

28

12

0

Participant number

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

Short name of participant

UoG

FUB

INRAE

POLITO

CHQ

DTU

AGES

Person/months per participant

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

Participant number

15

16

17

18

19

20

 

Short name of participant

NVM

WR

EQY

CAMPO

SPOT

EMU

Person/months per participant

4

0

0

0

0

0

Start month

12

 End month

56

Objectives of the work package:

WP5 will assess the effects of MNP and MesoP alone (SO4) and combined with other stressors (SO5) on soil quality as indicated by physical and chemical properties, and by crop growth dynamics and yield. Analysis will be performed at the CSS, at samples collected from pot and field experiments described in T4.1 (complementing WP4) (SO2) and at samples from targeted experiments providing answers to specific scientific questions. A series of research tasks will (a) assess impact on soil physical properties (T5.1); (b) model impact on MNP preferential flow and soil matrix (T5.2) (SO6); (c) assess impacts on soil chemical properties (T5.3); (d) assess the impact on plant physiology and crop production (T5.4); and (e) determine NP plant uptake and assess the risk for food trophic chain. To study the impact of MNP on selected soil types, WP5 will collaborate with the monitoring plan compiled in WP2 and definition of methods of soil sampling and soil analysis in collaboration with WP3 (sampling sites selection). Data obtained in WP5 will be stored in an online database (T2.4) accessible to all project partners and farmers included in the project. Unified soil sampling strategies and experimental design with WP3, WP4 and WP6 will be used.

Task 5.1 Assessment of the impact of MNP and other stressors on soil physical properties

Task leader: UL | Participant(s): WU, CDEUB, UCSC | Timing: M12-48

The focus of T5.1 will be on soil physical properties related to soil water. The impact of the type of plastic additives, plastic particle size and their concentration, with and without other stressors on soil physical properties will be determined in pot and field experiments described in T4.1 and shared with WP4. Selected soil physical properties will be assessed in both experimental scales including: (a) soil aggregate stability, aggregate size distribution (UCSC); and (b) texture structure, bulk density, pore size distribution, hydraulic conductivity, infiltration, soil water retention, and soil water repellency (UL). Measurements of soil water content (dielectric sensors), tension, and simulation of the soil water availability for plants will be performed on selected treatments of experimental platforms (T4.1) and targeted lab and pot experiments (UL). Results will contribute to other WP5 tasks and to WP4, WP6 and WP7.

Task 5.2 Modelling transport of MNP and other stressors in the soil profile

Task leader: CDEUB | Participant(s): UL, WU, CSS partners | Timing: M12-48

This task will measure and model advanced physical properties (e.g. soil water dynamics) in combination with soil biota reaction and activity on representative soils types from selected fields (CSS). We will investigate the degree of preferential flow qualitatively (CDEUB, UL) (e.g., using dye tracer experiments) (T6.1) and quantitatively by analysing the amount of MNP in the soil columns in the laboratory (WU) (T6.3), examining adsorption by tomography at the aggregate scale, and modelling at the profile scale. The aim is to improve understanding of NP transport in soils and to gain insights into the principal physicochemical mechanisms as well as the experimental conditions (e.g. degree of saturation, flow rate, particle concentration, and size) governing their mobility and retention. Modelling (CDEUB) of NP will be done using two different models: (i) a transfer model based on fractionation of water into mobile and immobile fractions coupled with the attachment/detachment model; and (ii) Hydrus 1D. Modeling results will be validated against data generated in T6.3. Our outcomes will contribute to T5.3, T5.4, T4.4, T6.3, and WP7.

Task 5.3 Assessment of the impact of MNP and other stressors on soil chemical properties

Task leader: WU | Participant(s): AGES, CDEUB, UL, NVM | Timing: M12-54

The focus of T5.3 will be on understanding how MNP will interfere in soil biogeochemical processes (C, N, P cycles), supporting WP4 on the interpretation of data regarding effects on soil functional microbial groups involved in nutrient cycling (T4.2), and soil chemical properties as pH, EC or nutrients availability, which might be affected by MNP with/without organic stressors. Effects will be determined at different experimental scales in accordance with T4.1 description as follows:

Pot experiments: soil chemical properties which might affect or be affected by the soil biota group targeted will be determined (i.e. NH4, NO3 levels – AOM, Denitrifiers; Phosphorus, EC – AMF; pH – all biota groups) (WU, CDEUB, UL, NVM); Field experiments: soil chemical parameters that will allow to give a complete picture about the fate and effects of MNP in agricultural soils and support WP4 on interpretation of effects on the soil biota (UBERN-CDEUB) (i.e. pH, EC, NH4, NO3 SO4 levels etc). Results will contribute to the T5.4, WP4, WP6, and WP7.

Task 5.4 Assessment of the impact of MNP and other stressors on crop physiology and productivity

Task leader: FiBL-CH | Participant(s): AGES, UL, UCSC, NVM | Timing: M12-54

This task aims to analyse the response of selected crop plants (highest coverage in CSS) to MNP. This will be addressed in pot and field experiments described in T4.1, regarding: (i) crop growth dynamics: crop parameters that are potentially responding to increasing loads of MNP in soils and analyse plant growth from the germination to the cropping phase will be measured; (ii) crop plants physiology: critical MNP loads for plant growth at physiological level (e.g. throughout plant life cycle) will be identified, to be used as input parameters in field experiments. Additional Pot experiments will be carried out to assess “multi-stress” combinations (i. e. MNP in addition with drought) on plant performance (UCSC). This task will combine information from WP4, WP5 and WP6 and prepare a thorough assessment of MNP impact on the crop dynamics and crop growth in relation to soil health and fertility. Results will contribute to the Task 5.5, WP6 and WP7.

Task 5.5 NP plant uptake and risk characterization for the human food chain

Task leader: GIUB | Participant(s): UCSC, | Timing: M12-54

The uptake of NP by plants will be analysed to link NP – plant interaction to physiology. Nanoparticles can be taken up via the root or via the leaves but are little translocated in the plant. Fluorescence-labelled and metal-labelled NP will be added to the soil in targeted pot experiments and applied to the leaves (to simulate NP deposition) in the experiments used in task 5.4 to assess plant physiological parameters. The transfer of NP into plants and the risk for food chain transfer will be assessed from NP uptake in edible plant parts (GIUB, USCS). Results will contribute to the WP6 and WP7.

Deliverable 5.1: Effects of the MNP on the soil physical properties related to soil water [M48, UL, R, PU] Deliverable 5.2: Report of modelling transport of MNP in soil [M48, CDEUB, R, PU] Deliverable 5.3: Effects of MNP on the soil chemical properties [M54, WU, R, PU] Deliverable 5.4: Impact of MNP on crop productivity and plant physiology [M54, FiBL-CH, R, PU] Deliverable 5.5: NP plant uptake and transfer to the food chain – Calculation of threshold values for health risk [M54, GIUB, R, PU]