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Occurrence and Ecological Impacts of Microplastics in Soil Systems: A Review

Abstract

Microplastics, as a group of emerging contaminants, are receiving growing attention. During the last decade, their occurrence and toxicity in aquatic ecosystems have been intensively studied and reviewed, but less attention has been paid on soil ecosystems. Given the importance of soil ecosystems and the call for increasing research on soil from scientific communities, it is predicted that relevant studies will boom in the following years. The present review intends to provide a comprehensive overview of current knowledge on microplastic pollution in soil environments. We critically summarize the source, contamination level and fate of microplastics in (industrial and arable) soils. Then, we thoroughly describe what effects have been observed on soil microbes, animals and plants, and analyze what insights we can get from available information. Finally, we identify knowledge gaps that need to be filled and give suggestions for future research.

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Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by National Key Research and Development Plans (2018YFC1800602) and the National Science Foundation of China (21777066).

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Correspondence to Cheng Gu.

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Zhu, F., Zhu, C., Wang, C. et al. Occurrence and Ecological Impacts of Microplastics in Soil Systems: A Review. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 102, 741–749 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-019-02623-z

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Keywords

  • Microplastic
  • Distribution
  • Impact
  • Soil
  • Biota