Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Review article
17 Dec 2020
Review article |  | 17 Dec 2020

Global concentrations of microplastics in soils – a review

Frederick Büks and Martin Kaupenjohann

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What do we know about how the terrestrial multicellular soil fauna reacts to microplastic?
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Two different microbial communities did not cause differences in occlusion of particulate organic matter in a sandy agricultural soil
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Cited articles

Allen, S., Allen, D., Phoenix, V. R., Le Roux, G., Jiménez, P. D., Simonneau, A., Binet, S., and Galop, D.: Atmospheric transport and deposition of microplastics in a remote mountain catchment, Nat. Geosci., 12, 339–344,, 2019. 
Barnes, D. K., Galgani, F., Thompson, R. C., and Barlaz, M.: Accumulation and fragmentation of plastic debris in global environments, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 364, 1985–1998,, 2009. 
Battulga, B., Kawahigashi, M., and Oyuntsetseg, B.: Distribution and composition of plastic debris along the river shore in the Selenga River basin in Mongolia, Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res., 26, 14059–14072,, 2019. 
Bläsing, M. and Amelung, W.: Plastics in soil: Analytical methods and possible sources, Sci. Total Environ., 612, 422–435,, 2018. 
Büks, F., Loes van Schaik, N., and Kaupenjohann, M.: What do we know about how the terrestrial multicellular soil fauna reacts to microplastic?, SOIL, 6, 245–267,, 2020a. 
Short summary
Laboratory experiments that assess microplastic (MP) impact on the terrestrial environment require information on common soil MP concentrations. We reviewed item numbers and mass concentrations recorded in 23 studies, with 223 sampling sites in total with respect to the underlying entry pathways, land uses and vicinities. Common values included amounts of up to 13 000 items kg−1 and 4.5  mg kg−1 dry soil. Based on the collected data, we identified problems in past field studies.