Single-walled carbon nanotubes alter soil microbial community composition

Lixia Jin, Yowhan Son, Jared L. DeForest, Yu Jin Kang, Woong Kim, Haegeun Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Recent developments in nanotechnology may lead to the release of nanomaterials into the natural environment, such as soils, with largely unknown consequences. We investigated the effects of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), one of the most widely used nanomaterials, on soil microbial communities by incubation of soils to which powder or suspended forms of SWCNTs were added (0.03 to 1mgg-1 soil). To determine changes in soil microbial community composition, phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profiles were analyzed at 25th day of the incubation experiment. The biomass of major microbial groups including Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and fungi showed a significant negative relationship with SWCNT concentration, while the relative abundance of bacteria showed a positive relationship with SWCNT concentration. Furthermore, soils under distinct concentrations of SWCNT treatments had PLFA profiles that were significantly different from one another. Our results indicate that the biomass of a broad range of soil microbial groups is negatively related with SWCNT concentration and upon entry into soils, SWCNTs may alter microbial community composition. Our results may serve as foundation for scientific guideline on regulating the discharge of nanomaterials such as SWCNTs to the soil ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-538
Number of pages6
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program ( NRF-2010-0025691 ) of National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology . This work was also supported by the Waste to Energy and Recycling Human Resource Development Project ( YL-WE-12-001 ) funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment .


  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Nanomaterial
  • Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA)
  • Soil incubation
  • Soil microorganism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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