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Micro and nanoplastics in the agricultural environment: assessing fate and ecological impacts

Micro and nanoplastics in the agricultural environment

This thematic series has published in Chemical and Biological Technologies in Agriculture.

Guest Edited by: Edoardo Puglisi1 and Esperanza Huerta Lwanga2
1 Universit√† Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, Italy
2 Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands & El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Campeche, Mexico

Aims and Scope: The contamination of terrestrial environments by plastic materials have been mostly overlooked in the past years, with most studies being focused on contamination and impacts on aquatic environments. Scientific evidence clearly shows that plastics are now emerging widespread contaminants in agricultural soils, where they are often present in the form of micro- and nanoplastics, due to disaggregation and weathering processes. The issue is related not only to petroleum-based plastics, but also to biodegradable bioplastics, that can reach soils if the plastics are not properly disposed or treated.

The fate and impact of these contaminants is still partly unknown, with first effects on crops physiology, soil physico-chemical properties, diversity and activity of soil microorganisms, and mesofauna being reported, as well as interactions with other chemical pollutants such as pesticides and heavy metals.

This series aims to collate research on various aspects of plastics in agriculture and welcomes advanced experimental studies and reviews related, but not limited to: 

  • the fate and processes of plastics and bioplastics from wastes to soil, with a focus on anaerobic digestion and composting of the plastic contaminated food waste
  • advanced analytical methods for the determination of micro- and nanoplastics in soils and plants
  • impacts on the diversity and activity of soil organisms
  • transport processes in soils mediated by soil fauna
  • farm to fork transports of plastics from soils to food
  • comparison between fate and impacts of plastics and bioplastics

Keywords: microplastics, nanoplastics, composting, polyethylene, polypropylene, polylactic acid, starch-based bioplastics, earthworms, soil microbial diversity, crop yields, food chains.

Articles published in this collection:

  1. Plastic is one of the most widely used materials worldwide in various fields, including packaging and agriculture. Its large quantities require proper disposal and for this reason more and more attention is pa...

    Authors: Federico Puliga, Veronica Zuffi, David Baldo, Daniel Cavatorta, Alessandra Zambonelli, Ornella Francioso and Santiago Sanchez-Cortes
    Citation: Chemical and Biological Technologies in Agriculture 2023 10:50
  2. Poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (P3HB) is a bacterial intracellular carbon and energy storage polymer, used as a thermoplastic polyester in a wide array of industrial and agricultural applications. However, how the soi...

    Authors: M. Brtnicky, V. Pecina, J. Holatko, T. Hammerschmiedt, A. Mustafa, A. Kintl, J. Fojt, T. Baltazar and J. Kucerik
    Citation: Chemical and Biological Technologies in Agriculture 2022 9:75
  3. This paper explores different interactions and processes involved in the transport of microplastics from agricultural systems to surrounding environments. We conducted an exhaustive review of the most recent s...

    Authors: Esperanza Huerta Lwanga, Nicolas Beriot, Fabio Corradini, Vera Silva, Xiaomei Yang, Jantiene Baartman, Mahrooz Rezaei, Loes van Schaik, Michel Riksen and Violette Geissen
    Citation: Chemical and Biological Technologies in Agriculture 2022 9:20
  4. Plastics fragmentation into smaller debris, namely, micro- and nano-plastics (MPs and NPs), is a matter of global concern because of their wide distribution in terrestrial and marine environments. The latest r...

    Authors: Francesca Bandini, Eren Taskin, Gabriele Bellotti, Filippo Vaccari, Chiara Misci, Maria Chiara Guerrieri, Pier Sandro Cocconcelli and Edoardo Puglisi
    Citation: Chemical and Biological Technologies in Agriculture 2022 9:4