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Investigating the dispersal of macro- and microplastics on agricultural fields 30 years after sewage sludge application

Weber, Collin J. ; Santowski, Alexander ; Chifflard, Peter (2022):
Investigating the dispersal of macro- and microplastics on agricultural fields 30 years after sewage sludge application. (Publisher's Version)
In: Scientific Reports, 12, Springer Nature, e-ISSN 2045-2322,
DOI: 10.26083/tuprints-00022527,
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Item Type: Article
Origin: Secondary publication service
Status: Publisher's Version
Title: Investigating the dispersal of macro- and microplastics on agricultural fields 30 years after sewage sludge application
Language: English
Abstract:

Plastic contamination of terrestrial ecosystems and arable soils pose potentially negative impacts on several soil functions. Whereas substantial plastic contamination is now traceable in agro-landscapes, often internal-caused by the application of fertilizers such as sewage sludge, questions remain unanswered concerning what happens to the plastic after incorporation. Based on a combined surface and depth sampling approach, including density separation, fuorescence staining and ATR-FTIR or µFTIR analyses, we quantifed macro- and microplastic abundance on two agricultural felds—34 years after the last sewage sludge application. By sub-dividing the study area around sludge application sites, we were able to determine spatial distribution and spreading of plastics. Past sewage sludge application led to a still high density of macroplastics (637.12 items per hectare) on agricultural soil surfaces. Microplastic concentration, measured down to 90 cm depth, ranged from 0.00 to 56.18 particles per kg of dry soil weight. Maximum microplastic concentrations were found in regularly ploughed topsoils. After 34 years without sewage sludge application, macro- and microplastic loads were signifcantly higher on former application areas, compared to surrounding areas without history of direct sewage application. We found that anthropogenic ploughing was mainly responsible for plastic spread, as opposed to natural transport processes like erosion. Furthermore, small-scale lateral to vertical heterogeneous distribution of macro- and microplastics highlights the need to determine appropriate sampling strategies and the modelling of macro- and microplastic transport in soils.

Journal or Publication Title: Scientific Reports
Volume of the journal: 12
Place of Publication: Darmstadt
Publisher: Springer Nature
Collation: 13 Seiten
Classification DDC: 500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik > 550 Geowissenschaften
Divisions: 11 Department of Materials and Earth Sciences > Earth Science > Department of Soil Mineralogy and Soil Chemistry
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2022 13:06
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 13:06
DOI: 10.26083/tuprints-00022527
Corresponding Links:
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-225272
URI: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/id/eprint/22527
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