Work package number

4

Lead Beneficiary

UTH

Work package title

Assessment of the impact of MNP and combined effects with other stressors on soil biodiversity

Participant number

1

3

4

6

9

10

 

Short name of participant

WU

FIBL-CH

UTH

UCSC

FUB

INRAE

 

Person/months per participant

14

2

33

13

20

16.5

 

Start month

9

 End month

60

Objectives of the work package:

The main objective of WP4, fully aligned with SO4 and SO5, will be to assess the effects of MNP (alone and in combination with other soil stressors) on the function and diversity of the soil biota. Specific experiments will be performed (T4.1) so that analysis can be run at different scales and supported by WP5 and WP6 (SO2).

WP4 specific objectives are:

(a) to determine the effects of MNP of different, size chemistry and origin on the function (T4.2) and diversity (T4.3) of the soil microbial community, including endophytes and rhizosphere microorganisms

(b) to determine the effects of MNP of different chemistry, size and origin on the diversity and functions of soil micro- and macrofauna (T4.4)

(c) to define effects on food web interactions and soil network configuration with links to function (T4.5) and

(d) to evaluate the interactive effects of MP linked with their additives and other pollutants, often associated with MNP in agricultural soils (i.e. pesticides, veterinary drugs, additives), on the soil microbiota and soil fauna (all tasks). 

Results will be integrated, with data from WP5 and WP6, into an overall sustainability analysis (WP7) and stored as described in WP2.

Task 4.1 Implementation of multi-scale experimental plan  

Task leader: UTH| Participant(s): WU, FIBL-CH, UCSC, FUB, INRAE


To determine the effects of MNP on soil biota a set of experiments will be performed at three scales. Soil biota measurements, especially at field level (and for specific pot experiments), will be supported by soil physicochemical and plant measurements (WP5) and MNP levels determination (WP6):


1) Soil lab experiments (no plants). 3-4 soils (ca. 100 g from soils sampled at CSS in WP3 or characterized control soils in WP5) with variable physicochemical characteristics will be used. For each soil, three different MNP types selected based on WP3 data (to cover >90% of the type of plastics identified in WP3 inventory and CSS), applied at rates (plus a no plastics control) either alone or in combination with three pesticides/veterinary drugs will be tested. FUB, UTH, INRAE, and WU will undertake these experiments;


2) Pot experiments (co-analysed WP4, 5 and 6). 3-4 soils (as in lab experiments) with plants (common with WP5) will be tested. 3 different MNP types (as in lab experiments) applied at 3 rates (plus a no plastics control), either individually or in combination with three pesticide/veterinary drugs will be tested. These experiments will be performed by FUB, UCSC and UTH questioning effects on soil microbiota and by WU, USCS addressing effects on soil fauna.


3) Field experiments (co-analysed WP4, 5 and 6). 3 experimental platforms will be involved: Wageningen (NL, Atlantic region, managed by WU), Dijon (FR, Continental region, managed by INRAE) and Crete (EL, Mediterranean region, managed by CHQ). Effects of 2 MNP types will be tested at two rates (plus an untreated control) in combination or not with one pesticides/veterinary drug in a completely randomized plot design with 3 reps per treatment (summing to 24 + 3 untreated plots). Each field experimental site will be supported by at least two groups for the measurements of soil fauna (WU, UCSC) and soil microbiota (UTH, UCSC - CHQ site / FUB, UTH - WU site / INRAE, FUB - INRAE site).

Task 4.2 Assessment of the impact of MNP and other stressors on functional attributes of soil microorganisms

Task leader: FUB | Participant(s): INRAE,UTH,UCSC,FiBL-CH| 

We will assess effects on key functional microbial attributes including:
(a) N-cycling microbial groups: like (i) all AOM, including ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and complete ammonia-oxidation bacteria (comammox), via q-PCR (amoA genes), measurement of NH4, NO3 and potential nitrification (UTH); (ii) denitrifying microorganisms via q-PCR of microbial genes involved in the four steps of the denitrification process (i.e. nirS/nirK, nosZ, narG) (INRAE);


(b) AMF, via measurement of root colonization, P plant uptake (FUB, UTH);


(c) Carbon compounds decomposers via q-PCR of pcaH and catA genes (INRAE);


(d) Plant growth promoting microbes (PGPM) via q-PCR of microbial genes involved in N fixation (nifH), auxin biosynthesis (ipdC, ppdC), P solubilization (gcd, gad, phnX) (UCSC);


(e) microbial enzymatic activities involved in C-, N-, and P- cycling by fluorescence plate assays (UCSC);


(f) metabolic fingerprinting of microbial communities via MicroResp® (FiBL-CH).;

The functional endpoints to be measured at each experimental scale as defined in T4.1 are:


1) Soil lab experiments: AOM and denitrifiers abundance, NH4, NO3, potential nitrification, C compound-decomposers abundance, activity of soil microbial enzymes and MicroResp®;


2) Pot experiments: In addition to the measurements described in the lab experiments, we will measure AMF P uptake and colonization, PGPM abundance and plant growth;


3) Field experiments: AMF P plant uptake and colonization level; AOM, C compound-decomposer and denitrifiers
abundance;

Task 4.3 Assessment of the impact of MNP and other stressors on the diversity of soil microorganisms

Task leader: INRAE | Participant(s): FUB, UTH, UCSC, WU|

The methodology to determine the quantity and the quality (e.g. polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyurethanes, synthetic oxo- and photo-degradable plastics, and biodegradable plastics) of plastic residues in soil will be standardized and included in the monitoring plan (T2.4).

We will determine effects on soil microbial diversity via amplicon sequencing targeting:


(a) prokaryotic (bacterial and archaeal), fungal and protists diversity (INRAE, FUB, UTH, UCSC, WU)

(b) AMF intraradical diversity (FUB, UTH)

(c) AOM diversity (i.e. AOA, AOB, commamox bacteria) (UTH).


Data will be analysed by FUB, UTH, INRAE, UCSC and WU with appropriate bioinformatic tools using relevant databases (Silva, UNITE, Abell et al., Alves et al.) and biometric tools (R software). Responsive groups of microorganisms and their relevance for the soil ecosystem homeostasis will be identified. Functional endpoints to be
measured are:


1) Soil lab experiments: prokaryotic and fungal diversity


2) and 3) Pot and field experiments: prokaryotic, protist, fungal and AOM soil diversity, and AMF intraradical diversity.

Task 4.4 Assessment of the impact of MNP and other stressors on the soil fauna

Task leader: UCSC | Participant(s): WU,UCSC|

We will determine in pot and field experiments the MNP effects on micro-, meso and macro-fauna targeting:
(a) soil ecosystem engineers (earthworms): Effects on the mortality and reproduction rates of endogeic and anecic earthworms. Ingestion rate, cast production, avoiding behaviour, number and size of burrows, and transport of MNP into deeper soil layers through earthworm burrows (WU);


(b) litter fragmenters (earthworms): Effects on biomass, reproduction, density, and mortality of epigeic earthworms (WU);


(c) bioindicators of pollution: Mortality acute tests of coleopteran (larvae) (WU);


(d) Interphase soil-litter organisms: Effects on the community of micro-arthropods and edaphic, hemiedaphic and epiedaphic collembola (mesofauna) (UCSC);


(e) nematodes: effects on nematodes diversity determined by amplicon sequencing (WU).

Task 4.5: Effects of MNP and other stressors on soil food web interactions and network configuration

Task leader: WU | Participant(s): WU|

In this task, biodiversity data obtained in all tasks in WP4 will be merged to test whether MNP:

(a) have increasing effect sizes on larger soil animals than on smaller microorganisms. We will comparatively assess differences in community metrics such as diversity and community composition between different groups of organisms. We will use different statistical approaches, to investigate potential differences of treatments on soil biodiversity groups;

(b) change the configuration of soil biodiversity networks. We will combine all data obtained to construct co-occurrence networks across trophic levels and calculate different metrics on the network scale;

(c) affect interactions between different (trophic) groups of soil organisms.

We will use structural equation modelling to examine the magnitude of causal effects of MNP on trophic food-web interactions. Targeted multi-trophic in vitro tests (WU), including bacteria, fungi, protists, nematodes and larger soil animals in the presence of MNP will validate data observed in (a) and (b) and identify routes
of MNP from one trophic level to the other.

Deliverable 4.1.: Protocol for multi-scale experiments [M11, UTH, R, PU]

Deliverable 4.2: Guidelines on the assessment of the toxicity of MNP and other stressors on soil microbial functioning [M46, FUB, R, PU]

Deliverable 4.3: Guidelines on the assessment of the toxicity of MNP and other stressors on soil microbial diversity [M49, INRAE, R, PU]

Deliverable 4.4: List of soil biota indicators affected by MNP and other stressors [M52, WU, R, PU]

Deliverable 4.5: Guidelines on the assessment of the toxicity of MNP and other stressors on soil fauna [M56, UCSC, R, PU]

Deliverable 4.6: Guidelines for assessing effects of MNP and other stressors on the entire soil food web [M60, WU, R, PU]

Work package number

2

Lead Beneficiary

UBERN-CDEUB

Work package title

Harmonisation of monitoring and methodologies

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

5

35

1

0

5

5

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

2

0

0

5

5

5

4

Participant number

15

16

17

18

19

20

 

Short name of participant

NVM

WR

EQY

CAMPO

SPOT

EMU

Person/months per participant

1

0

5

3

2

5

Start month

1

 End month

60

Objectives of the work package:

The main aim of WP2 is to coordinate stakeholder activities and establish a harmonized monitoring plan across 11 CSS in Europe. WP2 will ensure exchange between CSS and related stakeholder groups across all WPs (SO3). This includes the establishment of MAPs in each CSS (T2.2). WP2 will coordinate monitoring activities, interviews from WP3, and workshops to assess the environmental and socio-economic dimensions. The MAPs will cover different levels of decision-making, from closely engaged groups of local interest (involve, collaborate, educate) to higher administrative authorities at the national and European levels (inform, consult). WP2 will also produce guidelines for monitoring activities, interviews, and workshops: these will be compiled into one document, the monitoring plan (T2.3). This will be harmonized for all CSSs to provide a comprehensive, coherent framework suited to assess the impacts of MNP on overall sustainability of European farming (SO2). A database will be created (T2.4) to store the data and enable its evaluation for different purposes (WP4–WP8).

Task 2.1: Construction of a High-level multi-actor (HLMAN) networks on plastics in agriculture

Lead partner: UoG | Participants: UBERN-CDEUB, FiBL-CH, UCSC, NVM | Timing: M1-M3

Task 2.1 will focus on the establishment of a HLMAN of representatives from the European plastic and horticultural industries (and their associations), farming and advisory communities, policy-makers, EU-level regulatory bodies (e.g. EFSA), standardization bodies (ISO, OECD), and civil society organizations, as well as EU platforms (e.g. EIP-AGRI, Copa Cogeca). The HLMAN will be active throughout the project, to both inform and be informed on project activities and help disseminate findings (channels, opportunities for exploitation, WP8). Importantly, the HLMAN will provide knowledge on relevant policy perspectives, which will be key to effectively implement T8.4 and T8.5. The HLMAN will meet online every 6 months, facilitated by WP8. Stakeholders from the HLMAN will be selected to participate in various project activities, where they will provide objective advice, optimize the project’s effectiveness and impact, and act as a sounding board for the consortium. WP2 will ensure that HLMAN stakeholders interact with the MAPs established at CSS level (T2.2), for example by inviting representatives to dialogue events in the CSSs.

Task 2.2: Establishment and operation of Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs) in CSS

Task leader: UBERN-CDEUB | Participants: UoG, FiBL-CH, UL, CHQ, UBERN-GIUB, FiBL-AT, NVM, WU, CAMPO, EMU

Timing: M1-M60

WP2 will coordinate and harmonize stakeholder activities in the CSS. It will facilitate the establishment of a MAP in each CSS and provide communication guidance to encourage active stakeholder involvement throughout the project. For each activity (e.g. interviews, workshops) addressing a given task at CSS level, the CSS MAP will identify and involve relevant stakeholders from the different levels of MA networks (HLMAN, MAAB) along with local and national stakeholders ranging from land users and farmer associations to other interest groups (e.g. environmental NGOs, consumer organizations, etc.), regional authorities and policymakers. For this purpose, a stakeholder analysis/mapping, including stakeholders related to the emission of plastics into the environment, and those affected will be established at the outset of the project (see Table 3 and Annex 2 summarizing CSS activities).

Involvement will range from close collaboration to consultation, and a detailed protocol (T2.3) mapping the expected stakeholders’ contributions to each WP will help to avoid overlaps and stakeholder fatigue and instead ensure stakeholders’ buy-in, active engagement, and learning. The MAPs will enable stakeholders to co-produce results in each CSS in workshops by establishing a shared understanding of potentially conflicting visions and fears, communicating their needs, feedback, and expectations and collaborating with the scientific team to refine research questions so as to meet the main project objective. WP2 will organize training events for CSS leaders regarding monitoring activities, interviews, workshops, soil quality and site characterization, with active involvement of the relevant WP leaders and experts dealing with MNP pollution, sampling, and laboratory analysis. WP and CSS Leaders will collaborate to define the stakeholders involved in the CSS activities related to data collection, baseline and site characterization (WP3), experimentation (WP4-W6), overall sustainability and ESS analysis (WP7) and dissemination and policy issues (WP8). In line with the project’s participatory approach, stakeholders will communicate their needs, feedbacks and expectations and collaborate with the scientific team to refine research questions.

Task 2.3: Monitoring plan for CSS

Task leader: CDEUB | Participant(s): GIUB, UoG, FiBL-AT, UL, WU, AGES, NVM | Timing: M1-M8

This task will produce guidelines for comprehensive and standardized assessment of the environmental status and socio-economic dimension at all CSSs. The plan will specify what will be monitored, with which methods and indicators, how often (including replicates), at which scale, and by whom. Task 2.3 will compile standardized methods to assess baseline and a minimum data set to assess soil quality (chemical, physical, and biological properties) and site characteristics, as well as soil biodiversity. In addition, Task 2.3 will provide the necessary information on the plastics to be used for field and lab experiments (e.g. type, amount, concentration, supplier) in collaboration with plastic experts within and beyond the MINAGRIS project. Baseline indicators will be selected from the WOCAT questionnaire as well as the iSQAPER, LANDMARK, and SoilCare H2020 projects. The outlined methods will enable the assessment of the environment’s vulnerability to plastic pollution, as well as the sources, flows, and distribution of plastics (provided by WP3 and included in the monitoring plan), and facilitate the comparison between all sites of different pedoclimatic conditions to ensure representativeness at a larger scale. The monitoring plan will be used for all activities regarding the assessment of environmental and socio-economic dimensions (WP3-7). The monitoring plan will also provide guidelines and tools to involve and engage stakeholders in the activities occurring at the CSS level during all steps of the project according to the participatory approach based on MAPs defined in T2.1. Using the monitoring plan, soil quality and site characteristics will be assessed together with the relevant stakeholders to ensure the applicability of project outcomes. The results will serve to evidence activities’ impact, enabling dialogue with policymakers (WP8).

Task 2.4: Data management, data storage and evaluation

Task leader: CDEUB | Participant(s): UoG, FiBL-AT, UL, UTH, GIUB, WU, NVMT | Timing: M1-M60

To ensure proper data management during the whole project, CDEUB and WU will write a Data Management Plan (DMP, D2.1) presenting rules and policies for data management. A database will be developed to store data collected in the field and laboratory experiments in a standardized and accessible format consistent with the GDPR. The database will be fed by different WP activities (WP3–WP7). The timing of data entry, validation, and quality control will be agreed with all partners. All monitoring data will be stored in a consistent and uniform database, enabling comparison between the different CSSs. The database will be composed of minimum four types of data matrix: i) basic CSS characterization by CSS leaders; ii) data obtained from WP3 on MNP use, iii) experimental (lab to field) data obtained from WP4-WP6, and iv) interviews data obtained in WP3 and WP7 (all GDPR measures will be undertaken to prevent release of personal data). The database will be accessible to all project partners through the intranet portal (T8.1) and it will be used to evaluate the impacts of MNP on overall sustainability and ESS by WP7.

Deliverable 2.1: Data Management Plan [M3, WU, PU] Deliverable 2.2: MAPs structure: identification of stakeholders to be included in the activities at the CSS [[M7, UBERN-CDEUB, OTHER, CO] Deliverable 2.3: Monitoring plan (including guidelines for CSS characterisation and stakeholder’s involvement via the MAPs) [M8, UBERN-CDEUB, R, PU] Deliverable 2.4: Database of the collected field, laboratory and interview data and evaluation date [M48, UBERN-CDEUB, OTHER, CO]

Overall structure of the work programme

MINAGRIS work plan articulates step by step along 6 technical WPs, under the global framework of the coordination and Management work package (WP1) together with the Multi-Actor approach ensured by WP2 and WP8:

 

 

 

WP No.  Work package Title   WP-Leader  Person-Months Start-Month  End-Month
 1 Coordination and project management  WU  38.5 Sep-2021 Sep-2026
 2 Harmonisation of monitoring and methodologies  UBERN-CDEUB  91 Sep-2021 Sep-2025
 3 Assessment of the use of plastics across Europe and resulting MNP concentrations in soil  FiBL-CH  151 Sep-2021 Sep-2026
 4 Assessment of the impact of MNP and combined effects with other stressors on soil biodiversity  UTH  98.5 Jun-2022 Sep-2026
 5 Assessment of the impact of MNP and combined effects with other stressors on soil physical and chemical properties and crop productivity  UL  88 Sep-2026 May-2026
 6  Degradability, mobility and fate of MNP and other stressors in the soil environment  UCSC 131 Mar-2022 Sep-2026
7 Synthesis of the impact of MNP and other stressors on ecosystem services and overall sustainability analysis FiBL-AT 7 Sep-2022 Sep-2026
 8  Dissemination and exploitation  UoG  74 Sep-2021 Sep-2026

 

Work package number

1

Lead Beneficiary

WU

Work package title

Coordination and project management

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

9

2

1

7

1

1

1

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

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

Participant number

15

16

17

18

19

20

 

Short name of participant

NVM

WR

EQY

CAMPO

SPOT

EMU

Person/months per participant

0.5

0.5

10

0.5

0.5

0.5

Start month

1

  End month

60

Objectives of the work package:

This WP will address day-to-day coordination and management of the overall project. WP1 will foster collaboration between the MINAGRIS partners, but also with the MAAB, to ensure compliance with the EC’s requirements, timely reporting and efficient administration and will facilitate adequate decision-making. The specific objectives of WP1 will be as follows:

·   To warrant effective administrative, financial, ethical, and legal coordination;

·   To prepare, conclude and implement the Consortium Agreement throughout project duration;

·   To install all management bodies and implement the meeting and reporting processes of the project to support the interaction and collaboration between partners both within and between WPs including the timely exchange of materials, data and results and other information;

·   To monitor the project work plan and achievement of the objectives, deliverables and milestones; identify any problems early and find solutions to counteract or rectify the problems;

·   To timely submit the contractual periodic EC reports and maintain good lines of communication with the EU Project Officer;

·   To monitor compliance with the ethical requirements as set out in Section 5;

·   To manage gender equality issues in the project;

·   To manage potential or unforeseen crisis outbreak that could impede project’s progress (e.g. COVID-19).

Task 1.1: Activity management Lead partner: EQY | Participant(s): All | Timing: M1-M60

Activity management is aimed at tracking the progress of the activities of the project and includes: i) maintenance of the project work plan and constant monitoring of its implementation, ii) identification of required corrective actions and contingency plans and, iii) implementation of decisions of the project managerial bodies. Furthermore, a coordination of reporting procedures that comply with the EC rules, and the provision of overall directions to the partners and follow-up on decisions of the plenary project meetings will be ensured by WU in collaboration with EQY. The MAAB will be consulted regularly.

Task 1.2: Financial and legal management Lead partner: WU | Participant(s): All | Timing: M1-M60

This management task will cover i) the preparation of a Consortium Agreement to regulate the management bodies, the decision-making process, and the management of IP and prior-existing knowledge, ii) the financial administration of the project (i.e. the timely distribution of funding to the partners via a dedicated Euro account, the budget management, utilization and monitoring, and the preparation of annual consortium consolidated financial statements), and iii) the preparation of periodic management reports, including justification of costs and Forms C of all beneficiaries. Online reporting tools are envisioned to ensure efficient communication between project management and project partners.

Task 1.3: Scientific progress Lead partner: UTH | Participant(s): All | Timing: M1-M60

Scientific management aims at following the project progress and includes: (i) study the progress of experiments at all the scales of the project, (ii) identification of required corrective actions linked with the work programme implementation when needed, (iii) implementation of scientific decisions of the project managerial bodies. Furthermore, a coordination of reporting procedures that comply with the EC rules, and the provision of overall directions to the partners and follow-up on decisions of the plenary project meetings will be ensured by UTH in collaboration with all the partners. The MAAB will be consulted regularly.

Task 1.4: Gender balance Lead partner: UBERN (CDEUB) | Participant(s): All | Timing: M1-M60

First, all partners will be informed about the unspoken societal rules which currently dictate the role of the gender aspects in research and innovation. This will include an information and sensitisation session on gender issues during the kick-off meeting. Furthermore, we will initiate an inventory of gender equality among the CSS stakeholders to identify the number of women and men involved in the project including their positions, roles, decision-making and perceptions on the use of plastics in farming. Data collection in WP3 and WP7 will be performed gender sensitive. Gender disaggregated, i.e. specific subgroup analyses will be performed under the coordination of WP2 CSS management.

Task 1.5: Organisation of project management meetings

Lead partner: EQY | Participant(s): All | Timing: M1-M60

Smooth organization and facilitation of activities of the project will be achieved by plenary meetings planned well in advance, which ideally will be hosted by partner organisations with CSS. The goal of the meetings is to evaluate project progress, to outline work plans, to have scientific discussions, targeted training sessions for project partners, dedicated interactions with MAAB members (review, advice on selected topics) and to receive updates regarding the financial and IP status and interactions with the EC. Separate and combined WP (co)leader meetings will be held yearly. For separate meetings, chairs of both meetings will be in close contact to ensure alignment of agenda’s, and to discuss progress made in each of the WPs and outlining follow-up work in more detail. Combined meetings will be scheduled back to back with plenary meetings. Minutes of the meetings will be provided to all partners.

Task 1.6: Crisis outbreak management Lead partner: WU | Participant(s): All | Timing: M1-M60

In case of crisis outbreak (e.g. COVID-19) that would lead to major modifications of the project agenda or endanger the successful completions of its results, WU together with the partners will prepare a crisis-adjusted plan to adapt the project workplan to the crisis situation, ensuring maximum completion of the project objectives and at the same time safeguarding partners’ safety and security.

Deliverable 1.1: Crisis outbreak management strategy [M6, WU, R, PU] Deliverable 1.2: Periodic project reports [M18, 36, 54 60, EQY, R, PU] Deliverable 1.3: Periodic scientific reports [M18, 36, 54, 60, EQY, R, PU] Deliverable 1.4: Gender equality report [M24, M48, UBERN-CDEUB, R, P]