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AGBS - Postdoctoral Position in Exploring the Interplay Between Soil Microplastics and Phosphate

Morocco (MA)
Closing date
7 Jun 2024

Job Details

AGBS - Postdoctoral Position in Exploring the interplay between soil microplastics and Phosphate fertilizers on soil health and crop productivity.

Professor Recruiter: Mohamed Id bella

Host institution:

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University is an institution dedicated to research and innovation in Africa and aims to position itself among world-renowned universities in its fields. The University is engaged in economic and human development and puts research and innovation at the forefront of African development. A mechanism that enables it to consolidate Morocco's frontline position in these fields, in a unique partnership-based approach and boosting skills training relevant for the future of Africa. Located in the municipality of Benguerir, in the very heart of the Green City, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University aspires to leave its mark nationally, continentally, and globally.

Host program:

College of sustainable agriculture and environmental sciences, AgroBiosciences Program.

Background: Soil microplastics (MPs) have emerged as a significant environmental concern due to their potential impacts on soil ecosystems and agricultural productivity. While previous research has predominantly focused on understanding the influence of MPs on soil physicochemical parameters and microbial communities, there remains a critical gap in understanding the interaction between MPs and phosphate (P) fertilizers, essential for plant growth.

Research Objectives: This postdoctoral position aims to investigate the interplay between soil microplastics and phosphate fertilizers and their combined effects on soil health and crop productivity, with a particular focus on Tomato and Fava bean cultivation systems. The primary objectives of the research include:

  • Assessing Microbial Community Dynamics: Characterize the structural and functional changes in soil bacterial communities in response to the introduction of low-density polyethylene MPs and varying phosphate fertilizer application rates.
  • Understanding Plant-Microbial Interactions: Investigate the influence of MPs contamination on crop growth and the role of phosphate fertilizers in mitigating the inhibitory effects of MPs on plant-microbial interactions and nutrient uptake processes.
  • Exploring Mechanisms of MP-P Fertilizer Interactions: Elucidate the mechanisms underlying the interactions between soil MPs and phosphate fertilizers, particularly focusing on nutrient availability, microbial nutrient cycling, and plant physiological responses.

Methodology: The successful candidate will employ a multidisciplinary approach combining molecular biology techniques, microbial ecology analyses, plant physiology measurements, and soil chemistry assessments. This will involve conducting greenhouse experiments using controlled soil microcosms with varying levels of MPs and phosphate fertilizers, followed by comprehensive analyses of soil and plant samples.

Potential Additional Axes of Work: While the proposed research framework offers a comprehensive approach to understanding the impacts of MPs and phosphate fertilizers on soil health and crop productivity, several additional axes of work could be explored:

Long-Term Effects: Investigate the long-term implications of soil MPs contamination and phosphate fertilizer application on soil sustainability, microbial community resilience, and crop yield stability. Biodegradation Studies: Explore the potential of indigenous microbial communities for degrading MPs in agricultural soils and assess the efficacy of bioremediation strategies in mitigating MPs pollution. Ecosystem-Level Impacts: Extend the research scope to evaluate the broader ecosystem-level impacts of MPs contamination and phosphate fertilizer use, including effects on soil biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and ecosystem services.

Application Details: Qualified candidates should possess a Ph.D. in soil science, microbiology, environmental science, or a related field, with expertise in microbial ecology, molecular biology, and plant-soil interactions. Strong analytical skills, proficiency in experimental design, and a track record of publication in peer-reviewed journals are desirable. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter detailing their research interests, a curriculum vitae, and contact information for three professional references to


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