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The influence of e-waste recycling on the molecular ecological network of soil microbial communities in Pakistan and China

Jiang, Longfei, Cheng, Zhineng, Zhang, Dayi, Song, Mengke, Wang, Yujie, Luo, Chunling, Yin, Hua, Li, Jun, Zhang, Gan
Environmental pollution 2017 v.231 pp. 173-181
Acidobacteria, Nitrospirae, Proteobacteria, antagonism, carbon, community structure, copper, ecological function, electronic wastes, heavy metals, lead, microbial communities, nitrogen content, nutrition, pollutants, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, recycling, remediation, soil ecology, soil microorganisms, soil properties, soil sampling, zinc, China, Pakistan
Primitive electronic waste (e-waste) recycling releases large amounts of organic pollutants and heavy metals into the environment. As crucial moderators of geochemical cycling processes and pollutant remediation, soil microbes may be affected by these contaminants. We collected soil samples heavily contaminated by e-waste recycling in China and Pakistan, and analyzed the indigenous microbial communities. The results of this work revealed that the microbial community composition and diversity, at both whole and core community levels, were affected significantly by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and heavy metals (e.g., Cu, Zn, and Pb). The geographical distance showed limited impacts on microbial communities compared with geochemical factors. The constructed ecological network of soil microbial communities illustrated microbial co-occurrence, competition and antagonism across soils, revealing the response of microbes to soil properties and pollutants. Two of the three main modules constructed with core operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were sensitive to nutrition (total organic carbon and total nitrogen) and pollutants. Five key OTUs assigned to Acidobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Nitrospirae in ecological network were identified. This is the first study to report the effects of e-waste pollutants on soil microbial network, providing a deeper understanding of the ecological influence of crude e-waste recycling activities on soil ecological functions.