Microplastics in soils: Analytical methods, pollution characteristics and ecological risks

Elsevier, TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 109, December 2018, Pages 163-172.
Authors: 
Defu He, Yongming Luo, Shibo Lu, Mengting Liu, Yang Song and Lili Lei

Microplastics are emerging persistent contaminants of increasing concern. Although microplastics have been extensively detected in aquatic environments, their occurrence in soil ecosystems remains largely unexplored. This review focused on recent progress in analytical methods, pollution characteristics and ecological effects of microplastics in soils. In spite of the presence of microplastics in soils, no standardized methods are available for the quantification. Uniform protocols including microplastic extraction and identification are urgently needed to develop. In soil environments, main sources of microplastics include mulching film, sludge, wastewater irrigation and atmospheric deposition. The fate of microplastics is closely related to soil physio-chemistry and biota. Existing evidence shows that microplastics can influence soil biota at different trophic levels, and even threaten human health through food chains. Therefore, further research is needed to fully reveal the fate and ecological risks of microplastics in soils; and necessary action is required to control microplastic pollution in terrestrial ecosystems.