Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-67
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-67

  06 Sep 2021

06 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SOIL.

The impact of microplastic weathering on interactions with the soil environment: a review

Frederick Büks and Martin Kaupenjohann Frederick Büks and Martin Kaupenjohann
  • Chair of Soil Science, Dept. of Ecology, Technische Universität Berlin, 10587 Berlin, Germany

Abstract. Recent studies have reported the influence of microplastic on soil quality parameters. Mass concentrations of plastic particles as found in highly contaminated soils were shown to weaken the soil structure by reducing the proportion of water stable aggregates (WSA). In addition, parts of the edaphon are adversely affected by mainly the < 100 µm microplastic fraction. The specific interaction of soil microplastic with other particulate organic matter (POM) and the mineral phase during the formation of soil aggregates as well as the adverse effects of especially the small-sized fraction, which has low weight but high specific surface area, justify a focus on surface properties of the soil microplastic and their alteration during the plastic life cycle. Exposed to UV radiation, juvenile plastic undergoes photochemical weathering with embrittlement and the formation of surface charge. When plastic particles enter the soil environment, a second step takes place, that includes biogeochemical weathering with enzymes, biotic and abiotic acids, oxidants as well as bioturbation and feeding of soil fauna. This work integrates recent findings on the effects of microplastic on soil structure and biota, the genesis of its surface characteristics and discusses how to reproduce them to conduct laboratory experiments with close-to-nature designer microplastic.

Frederick Büks and Martin Kaupenjohann

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on soil-2021-67', Anonymous Referee #1, 05 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on soil-2021-67', Anonymous Referee #2, 18 Oct 2021

Frederick Büks and Martin Kaupenjohann

Frederick Büks and Martin Kaupenjohann

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Short summary
The adverse effect of microplastic (MP) on soil biota and soil structure depend on MP particle size and surface characteristics. Since weathering plays a major role in the genesis of these, it must be considered in both the analysis of environmental MP and the production of artificial MP for laboratory experiments. This work integrates recent findings on adverse effects, the genesis of its surface characteristics and discusses how to reproduce them to receive close-to-nature designer MP.