Microplastics as pollutants in agricultural soils

Manish Kumar, Xinni Xiong, Mingjing He, Daniel C W Tsang, Juhi Gupta, Eakalak Khan, Stuart Harrad, Deyi Hou, Yong Sik Ok, Nanthi S Bolan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
1567 Downloads (Pure)


Microplastics (MPs) as emerging persistent pollutants have been a growing global concern. Although MPs are extensively studied in aquatic systems, their presence and fate in agricultural systems are not fully understood. In the agricultural soils, major causes of MPs pollution include application of biosolids and compost, wastewater irrigation, mulching film, polymer-based fertilizers and pesticides, and atmospheric deposition. The fate and dispersion of MPs in the soil environment are mainly associated with the soil characteristics, cultivation practices, and diversity of soil biota. Although there is emerging pollution of MPs in the soil environment, no standardized detection and quantification techniques are available. This study comprehensively reviews the sources, fate, and dispersion of MPs in the soil environment, discusses the interactions and effects of MPs on soil biota, and highlights the recent advancements in detection and quantification methods of MPs. The prospects for future research include biomagnification potency, cytotoxic effects on human/animals, nonlinear behavior in the soil environment, standardized analytical methods, best management practices, and global policies in the agricultural industry for the sake of sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114980
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume265, Part A
Early online date9 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Agricultural systems
  • Analytical techniques
  • Environmental pollution
  • Microplastics
  • Soil health
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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