Effects of 1-Alkyl-3-Methylimidazolium Nitrate on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties and Microbial Biomass

  • Tongtong Zhou
  • Jun Wang
  • Zhiqiang Ma
  • Zhongkun Du
  • Cheng Zhang
  • Lusheng Zhu
  • Jinhua Wang


Ionic liquids (ILs), also called room temperature ILs, are widely applied in many fields on the basis of their unique physical and chemical properties. However, numerous ILs may be released into and gradually accumulate in the environment due to their extensive use and absolute solubility. The effects of 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium nitrate ([Cnmim]NO3, n = 4, 6, 8) on soil pH, conductivity, cation exchange capacity, microbial biomass carbon, and microbial biomass nitrogen were examined at the doses of 1, 10, and 100 mg/kg on days 10, 20, 30, and 40. The results demonstrated that the soil pH decreased and the conductivity increased with increasing IL doses. No significant differences were observed in the soil cation-exchange capacity. All three of the tested ILs decreased the soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen. Additionally, there were few differences among the ILs with different alkyl chain lengths on the tested indicators except for the microbial biomass nitrogen. The present study addressed a gap in the literature regarding the effects of the aforementioned ILs with different alkyl side chains on the physicochemical properties of soil, and the results could provide the basic data for future studies on their toxicity to soil organisms, such as earthworms and soil microbes.



This study was funded by the National Key Research and Development Plan (Grant Numbers 2017YFD0200307, 2016YFD0800202 and 2016YFD0201203); the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Numbers 41771282, 41671320); the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province, China (ZR2017MD005) and the Special Funds of Taishan Scholar of Shandong Province, China.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Data Availability

The datasets generated during and analysed during the current study available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


  1. Bado-Nilles A, Diallo AO, Marlair G, Pandard P, Chabot L, Geffard A, Len C, Porcher JM, Sanchez W (2015) Coupling of OECD standardized test and immunomarkers to select the most environmentally benign ionic liquids option: towards an innovative “safety by design” approach. J Hazard Mater 283:202–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bao SD (2000) Soil and agricultural chemistry analysis, 3rd edn. China Agriculture Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  3. Bubalo MC, Radosevic K, Redovnikovic IR, Halambek J, Srcek VG (2014) A brief overview of the potential environmental hazards of ionic liquids. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 99:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Couling DJ, Bernot RJ, Docherty KM, Dixon JK, Maginn EJ (2006) Assessing the factors responsible for ionic liquid toxicity to aquatic organisms via quantitative structure–property relationship modeling. Green Chem 8:82–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Du ZK, Zhu LS, Dong M, Wang JH, Wang J, Xie H, Liu T, Guo YY (2014) Oxidative stress and genotoxicity of the ionic liquid 1-octyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 67:261–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Guo P, Zhu L, Wang J, Wang J, Liu T (2015) Effects of alkyl-imidazolium ionic liquid [Omim]Cl on the functional diversity of soil microbial communities. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22:9059–9066CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Guo Y, Liu T, Zhang J, Wang JH, Wang J, Zhu LS, Yang JH (2016) Biochemical and genetic toxicity of the ionic liquid 1-octyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride on earthworms (Eisenia fetida). Environ Toxicol Chem 35:411–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Han Y, Ma FY, Xie GL, Qin GH, Ma SG (2014) Spatial heterogeneity of soil electrical conductivity in a mixed plantation of the Yellow River Delta saline land. Sci Soil Water Conserv 12:84–89Google Scholar
  9. Henrot J, Robertson GP (1994) Vegetation removal in two soils of the humid tropics: effect in microbial biomass. Soil Biol Biochem 26:111–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Huang CY, Xu JM (2010) Soil Science, 3rd edn. China Agriculture Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  11. International Standardization Organization (1994) ISO 11265: soil quality: determination of the specific electrical conductivity. ISO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  12. International Standardization Organization (2005) ISO 10390: soil quality: determination of pH. ISO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  13. Jastorff B, Sttirmann R, Ranke J (2003) How hazardous are ionic liquids? Structure–activity relationships and biological testing as important elements for sustainability evaluation. Green Chem 5:136–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lin XG (2010) Principles and methods of soil microbiology research. Higher Education Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  15. Liu T, Guo Y, Wang J, Wang J, Zhu L, Zhang J, Zhang C (2015a) Assessing toxic effects of [Omim] Cl and [Omim] BF4 in zebrafish adults using a biomarker approach. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23:7360–7368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Liu T, Zhu L, Wang J, Wang J, Zhang J, Sun X, Zhang C (2015b) Biochemical toxicity and DNA damage of imidazolium-based ionic liquid with different anions in soil on Vicia faba seedlings. Sci Rep 5:18444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Liu XY, Zhang SM, Wang JH, Wang J, Shao YT, Zhu LS (2016) Biochemical responses and DNA damage in earthworms (Eisenia fetida) induced by ionic liquid OmimPF6. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23:6836–6844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Liwarska-Bizukojc E (2011) Influence of imidazolium ionic liquids on dehydrogenase activity of activated sludge microorganisms. Water Air Soil Pollut 221:327–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ma J, Dong XY, Fang Q, Li XY, Wang JJ (2014) Toxicity of imidazolium-based ionic liquids on Physa acuta and the snail antioxidant stress response. J Biochem Mol Toxicol 28:69–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Martins MR, Pereira P, Lima N, Cruzmorais J (2013) Degradation of metalaxyl and folpet by filamentous fungi isolated from Portuguese (alentejo) vineyard soils. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 65:67–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Moosav M, Daneshvar A (2014) Investigation of the rheological properties of two imidazolium-based ionic liquids. J Mol Liq 190:59–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Panda S, Gardas RL (2015) Measurement and correlation for the thermophysical properties of novel pyrrolidonium ionic liquids: effect of temperature and alkyl chain length on anion. Fluid Phase Equilibr 386:65–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pankhurst CE, Keller KO, Doube BM, Vvsr G (1996) Biodiversity of soil microbial communities in agricultural systems. Biodivers Conserv 5:197–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Santiago-Martín AD, Cheviron N, Quintana JR, González C, Lafuente AL, Mougin C (2013) Metal contamination disturbs biochemical and microbial properties of calcareous agricultural soils of the mediterranean area. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 64:388–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Seddon KR (1997) Ionic Liquids for Clean Technology. J Chem Technol Bio 68:351–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shao YT, Du ZK, Zhang C, Zhu LS, Wang JH, Wang J (2017) Acute toxicity of imidazole nitrate ionic liquids with varying chain lengths to earthworms (Eisenia foetida). B Environ Contam Tox 99:213–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sun X, Zhu LS, Wang JH, Wang J, Su BY, Liu T, Zhang C, Gao C, Shao YT (2017) Toxic effects of ionic liquid 1-octyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate on soil enzyme activity and soil microbial community diversity. Ecotox Environ Saf 135:201–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tong YJ, Wang QJ, Ma YL, Lv YZ, Liu YY, Zhang R, Wu YX, Zhu SD (2011) Influence of ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride on soil physic-chemical property and soil microbiological community. J Wuhan Inst Technol 33:25–29Google Scholar
  29. Wang CY, Wang CF, Xu PP, Li AQ, Chen YJ, Zhuo KL (2016) Synthesis of cellulose-derived carbon dots using acidic ionic liquid as a catalyst and its application for detection of Hg2+. J Mater Sci 51:861–867CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wu JS, Lin QM, Huang QY, Xiao HA (2006) Soil Microbial biomass-Methods and Application. China Meteorological Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  31. Yin LP, Zhang B, Li A, Kang YH, Liu JY, Zhang H, Cheng Y, Li WC (2014) Influence of soil pH value on geochemical behavior of heavy metals in soil. Liaoning Chem Ind 43:865–867Google Scholar
  32. Zhang C, Shao Y, Zhu L, Wang JH, Wang J, Guo YY (2017a) Acute toxicity, biochemical toxicity and genotoxicity caused by 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate in zebrafish (Danio rerio) livers. Environ Toxicol Phar 51:131–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zhang C, Zhang S, Zhu LS, Wang JH, Wang J, Zhou TT (2017b) The acute toxic effects of 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium nitrate ionic liquids on Chlorella vulgaris and Daphnia magna. Environ Pollut 229C:887–895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhang C, Zhu LS, Wang JH, Wang J, Zhou TT, Xu YQ, Cheng C (2017c) The acute toxic effects of imidazolium-based ionic liquids with different alkyl-chain lengths and anions on zebrafish (Danio rerio). Ecotox Environ Saf 140:235–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Resources and Environment, Key Lab of Agricultural Environment in Universities of ShandongShandong Agricultural UniversityTaianPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations