About this Research Topic
As a consequence of waste mismanagement and the use of sludge and composts polluted with plastic particles, abandoned plastic mulch fragments on agricultural lands and soils have become a pathway of microplastics emission into the environment. Microplastics, defined as particles smaller than 5mm, are generated by the action of ultraviolet light, wind, and rain. Once microplastics are deposit in soils they remain inside soil aggregates attached to the mineral and organic materials, they are leached or they are transported into deeper layers by soil macroinvertebrates organisms like earthworms. Whilst in aquatic systems it is observed that microplastics can be carriers of pesticides or other pollutants, this remains uncertain in terrestrial environments. The use of organochlorines and organophosphorines as pest control is now widely spread around the world, and soils polluted with pesticides are even found outside of agricultural areas.
There is, therefore, an urgent need to understand the different processes that take place in agricultural and non-agricultural lands, where microplastics and pesticides are present. Soil organic matter and clays have been found to have the ability to adsorb contaminants such as pesticides and microplastics. Soil particles then become contaminated and are transferred along the terrestrial food chain. But a series of questions remain:
• What occurs in different types of soils?
• Are these processes the same under different environmental conditions?
• What kinds of physical and chemical processes occur when plastic and pesticides interact in soils?
• Are soil infiltration, porosity, and field capacity properties affected when microplastics are incorporated into the soil?
• With provided soil ecosystem services, are different soil organisms diminished, increased or not affected?
• Are soil biogeochemical processes also influenced by the direct/indirect effects of soil microorganisms under plastics and pesticides terrestrial environment?
The scope of this Research Topic is to welcome original research with focused investigations on physical and chemical processes taking place in terrestrial environments characterized by resistant and nonresistant pesticides and microplastics. We also welcome articles addressing the transfer of these pollutants along the terrestrial food chain, as well as soil degradation, and eco-toxicology assessments.
Photo credits: Sagarpa 2019 & Sánchez del Cid L. 2019
Keywords: pesticides, terrestrial environment, Toxicology, Soil Processes, microplastics
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.