Responses of soil bacteria and fungal communities to pristine and sulfidized zinc oxide nanoparticles relative to Zn ions

Chun Chen, Jason M. Unrine, Yingwei Hu, Lulu Guo, Olga V. Tsyusko, Zhen Fan, Shuang Liu, Gehong Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) are attracting much interest due to their potential toxicity and ubiquity in consumer products. However, understanding of pristine and transformed ZnO NPs impact on soil microbial communities is still limited. Here, we explored changes in the microbial communities of soils treated with pristine and sulfidized ZnO NPs (s-ZnO NPs), and their corresponding Zn ions (ZnSO4) for 30 and 90 days exposures at 100 and 500 mg Zn kg−1. The similarity in bacterial community responses was observed between ZnO NPs and s-ZnO NPs, and these Zn treatments significantly affected the bacterial communities at 90 days, which exhibited distinct patterns compared to ZnSO4. The single-time tested DTPA and H2O extractable Zn ions could not fully explain the observed ZnO NPs and s-ZnO NPs impact on bacterial communities. The two most dominant phylum Nitrospirae and Actinobacteria, associated with the reduction of NH4+–N and dissolved organic carbon, demonstrated significant changes in soils exposed to ZnO NPs and s-ZnO NPs. This suggests the potential long-term impact of transformed ZnO NPs on soil carbon and nitrogen cycling. For fungal communities, we did not find the distinct response patterns of fungal communities between nanoparticulate and ionic Zn exposures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124258
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Mar 5 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Microbial community
  • Soil
  • Sulfidation
  • Zinc oxide nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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