Particulate plastics-plant interaction in soil and its implications: A review

Xiaolian Wu, Jinlian Lu, Minghui Du, Xiaoya Xu, Jingzi Beiyuan, Binoy Sarkar, Nanthi Bolan, Weicheng Xu, Song Xu, Xin Chen, Fengchang Wu, Hailong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Particulate plastics (<5 mm), including macroplastics (1 μm to 5 mm), microplastics (100 nm to 1 μm) and nanoplastics (<100 nm), have become a global environmental problem due to their widespread occurrence, distribution and ecosystem risk. Although numerous studies on particulate plastics have been conducted in aquatic systems, investigations in the soil ecosystem are lacking. Soil is the main storage place of particulate plastics, conferring significant impacts on plant growth and development. The impact of particulate plastics on plants is directly related to the safety of agricultural products. This review comprehensively examines the pollution characteristics and exposure pathways of particulate plastics in agricultural soils, highlighting plastic uptake process, and mechanisms in plants, and effects of particulate plastics, biodegradable particulate plastics and combined pollution of plastics with other environmental pollutants on plant performances. This review identifies a number of future research prospects including the development of accurate quantitative methods for plastic analysis in soil and plant samples, understanding the environmental behaviors of conventional and biodegradable particulate plastics in the presence and absence of other environmental pollutants, unravelling the fate of particulate plastics in plants, phyto-toxicity and molecular regulatory mechanisms of particultate plastics, and developing best management practices for the production of safe agricultural products in plastic-contaminated soils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148337
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2021


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