Microplastics in agricultural soils: Extraction and characterization after different periods of polythene film mulching in an arid region

Catégorie : Détection & Caractérisation
Date :4 décembre 2020
Li, Wenfeng; Wufuer, Rehemanjiang; Duo, Jia; Wang, Shuzhi; Luo, Yongming; Zhang, Daoyong; Pan, Xiangliang.
Science of The Total Environment : 749
Plastic film mulching has been extensively used in farmland, especially in and regions, for over half-century. However, this has led to heavy pollution of soils by microplastics (MPs). Currently, efficient extraction of MPs from the organo-mineral soil matrix is a problem because microsize clay particles tightly adhere to MPs. It is therefore extremely challenging to investigate, identify, quantify, and characterize MP particles and their behavior in agricultural soils. In this study, we developed a simple and effective method of separating and extracting MPs from the soil matrix. Clean polyethylene (PE) MPs were obtained after a series of treatments including pressure leaching, flotation, electrostatic adsorption, and concentrated sulfuric acid (98% H2SO4) carbonization. The characteristics of MP pollutants, such as abundance, size, and morphology, in soils that have been continuously mulched with PE film for various periods of time were determined after extraction. The highest abundance of MPs (40.35 mgkg) with sizes ranging from 0.9-2.0 mm was found in soil samples that had been continuously mulched with plastic film for 30 years. The sampled MP particles are in the microplastic size (0.8-0.3 mm) range, and the size of MPs decreases gradually as the period of mulching increased. Scanning electron microscopy analysis showed that the surface of the MP particles showed visible cracks, with round holes, and the particle surface roughened as the number of years of continuous mulching increased. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy results showed that the absorption peak area of hydrocarbyl (-CH2) of PE MPs decreased significantly, and the typical oxidation characteristic peak area increased as the mulching period increased. The concentration of mesoplastics also increased, from 91.20 mg/kg to 308.50 mg/kg, when the mulching period increased from 5 to 30 years.