About this Research Topic
Several new fluxes of wastes and stabilization/treatment procedures are becoming increasingly present in the current scenario, with significant knowledge gaps on the associated pollutant/hazardous components and also on the interaction with and within the biogeochemical compartments, and specifically with agricultural soil.
Biosolids, manures, agri-food sludges, organic fraction of urban wastes, vegetal wastes from urban gardening, sea debris, invasive vegetal species, anaerobic digestates and composts, represent only a part of the inputs of raw or stabilized organic matter as amendments to agricultural soils.
The contaminants transferred to soil via organic waste application need to be addressed not only regarding their chemical nature and total load, but also in terms of their bioavailability, environmental persistence, bioaccumulation, and transference to food chain, i.e., in an overall risk assessment. In addition, the variation of management in the farming sector vg. feed and zoonotic control variation etc., and, also, the waste stabilization/treatment procedure, significantly changes its nature and, therefore, its risk assessment. As an example, the lack of treatment/stabilization of the organic waste is, sometimes, even more problematic to soil properties and organisms, than its potential contaminants load.
The traditional approach to risk assessment by means of chemical analysis, associated mainly to heavy metals, is insufficient to provide an insight into the potential environmental risk of the beneficial use of organic wastes as soil amendments, since they do not allow an evaluation of possible combined effects of the different contaminants mixed together, as well as their bioavailability. So, it is important to reach a common knowledge of which tests and soil properties should be evaluated in a proper risk assessment. Several questions must to be addressed about standardized bioassays used for risk assessment: integrated multicriteria risk assessment vs specific criteria, adaptation to each type of organic wastes, biological-genomics vs chemical criteria, new bioassays etc.
In this Research Topic, we aim to collect manuscripts covering the current knowledge on these subjects, regarding different waste born contaminants (e.g., heavy metals, PAHs, pharmaceuticals, endocrine disruptors, engineered nanoparticles, etc.), in an up-to-date status (identification, quantification, and behavior) and stablish its dynamics and risk assessment in the soil-plant system.
Specifically, we encourage the submission of manuscripts (Original Research, Hypothesis & Theory, Methods, Reviews, Mini Reviews, Perspective and Opinion) covering the following topics:
a. Manuscripts identifying and quantifying waste born contaminants, the “usual suspects” and emerging contaminants;
b. Manuscripts describing the interactions between waste born contaminants and the different biogeochemical compartments, specifically in agricultural soils;
c. Manuscripts addressing issues related to the risk assessment of using organic wastes as agricultural soil amendments, namely concerning: contaminants bioavailability, environmental persistence, bioaccumulation, transference to different environmental compartments and to the human food chain;
d. Manuscripts debating the use of different and non-conventional (bio)tests to evaluate to the environmental risk assessment of using organic wastes as agricultural soil amendments;
e. Manuscripts relating the stabilization/treatment procedures used to a specific organic waste and their impact on the quality and environmental risk of its beneficial application to agricultural soil.
We anticipate that this Research Topic will become an important resource for soil scientists, agronomists, and environmental engineers, especially those involved in the risk assessment of the application of organic wastes to agroecosystems, as well as to all the stakeholders involved in the chain of the organic wastes, production, treatment, management and application.
Keywords: organic wastes, agricultural soil, contaminants transference, bioavailability, environmental persistence, bioaccumulation, risk assessment, soil quality, bioassays, heavy metals, PAHs, pharmaceuticals, endocrine disruptors, engineered nanoparticles
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.