Microplastic accumulation in agricultural soils can stress plants and affects quality of the products. Current research on the effects of microplastics on plants is not consistent and the underlying mechanisms are yet unknown. Here, the molecular mechanisms of the stress response were investigated via metabolomic and transcriptomic analyses of rice Oryza sativa L. II Y900 and XS123 under the exposure of polystyrene microplastics (PS-MPs) in a field study. Distinct responses were obtained in these two rice subspecies, showing decreased head rice yield by 10.62% in Y900 and increase by 6.35% in XS123. The metabolomics results showed that PS-MPs exposure inhibited 29.63% of the substance accumulation-related metabolic pathways and 43.25% of the energy expenditure-related metabolic pathways in the Y900 grains; however, these related pathways were promoted in the XS123 grains. The transcriptomics results indicated that the expression of genes encoding proteins involved in the tricarboxylic acid cycle in the Y900 grains was inhibited, but it was enhanced in the XS123 grains. The XS123 subspecies could response against microplastic exposure stress through the metabolite accumulation and energy expenditure pathways, while the Y900 could not. The results provide insight into the perturbation of rice grains in farmlands with microplastics contamination.
- Molecular perturbation mechanisms
- Tricarboxylic acid cycle