The effect of multi-walled carbon nanotubes on soil microbial activity

Haegeun Chung, Yowhan Son, Tae Kyung Yoon, Seungwook Kim, Woong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


Nanomaterials such as multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are applied to various industrial products and thus may be released to soils, but their potential environmental impacts remain largely undetermined. We investigated the short-term effect of MWCNTs on the activity and biomass of microorganisms inhabiting two different soil types in an incubation study. Up to 5000γgMWCNTg-1soil was applied and the activities of 1,4-Β-glucosidase, cellobiohydrolase, xylosidase, 1,4-Β-N-acetylglucosaminidase, and phosphatase and microbial biomass were measured. In both soil types, most enzyme activities showed a tendency to be repressed under 500γgMWCNTg-1soil, and all enzymatic activities as well as microbial biomass C and N were significantly lowered under 5000γgMWCNTg-1soil. Our results suggest that high concentrations of MWCNTs could lower the microbial activity and biomass in soils, and they may serve as an important guideline in regulating the release of MWCNTs to the soil environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-575
Number of pages7
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 May


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Extracellular enzymes
  • Microbial biomass
  • Nanomaterials
  • Risk assessment
  • Soil microorganisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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