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Special Issue "Heavy Metals in Agricultural Soils: Sources, Releases and Environmental Impacts"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 January 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Alexis Laurent

Division for Quantitative Sustainability Assessment, Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental impact assessment; pollutant release inventories; national and sectoral footprints; life cycle assessment; environmental sustainability
Guest Editor
Dr. Mikołaj Owsianiak

Division for Quantitative Sustainability Assessment, Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
Website | E-Mail
Interests: terrestrial ecotoxicity of metals; fate and behaviour of soil contaminants; biomass-based products and bioenergy; life cycle assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As part of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of them has a strong focus on achieving food security while promoting sustainable agriculture (SDG nr. 2). The challenge is therefore to “sustainably increase agricultural productivity”—one of the proposed targets under that goal. This increased agricultural productivity must, therefore, be done while reducing their associated impacts on ecosystems and human health. Current agricultural practice, however, may cause important damage, stemming from the intentional and unintentional emission of toxic substances, like metals present in animal feed or in pesticides, fertilisers and manure applied to land. Owing to the specific fate mechanisms of metals (e.g., no degradation, speciation), a fraction of those substances may, thus, end up in food or drinking water, thus causing potential impacts on human health, or in natural environments, where they may lead to impacts on freshwater, terrestrial and marine ecosystems. More research is therefore needed to assess, monitor, and decrease these impacts in current and forthcoming agricultural practices.

For this Special Issue, we therefore invite researchers to submit manuscripts addressing environmental sustainability aspects related to heavy metals in agricultural soils. Taking a holistic perspective in this topic, the ambition of this Special Issue is to cover all angles, starting from the quantification of heavy metals applied or ending up (intentionally or unintentionally) at agricultural soil and stemming from a large variety of sources (e.g., feed for animals, fertilizers, manure, pesticides, atmospheric deposition) to the eventual quantification of damage to human health and ecosystems resulting from these releases. Envisioned contributions include studies encompassing some or all the following topics: The characterization of heavy metals sources, the building of release inventories at different spatial scales, the fate and distribution of the metals in agricultural soils and their subsequent impact pathways leading to damages to ecosystems and human health. Both methodological studies (e.g., for environmental sustainability assessment) and relevant case studies are encouraged, including those investigating the differentiation of the above topics in time (future-oriented studies, dynamic assessments, long-term emissions, long-term impacts, etc.) and space (global assessment, comparisons across countries or regions, etc.).

Dr. Alexis Laurent
Dr. Mikołaj Owsianiak
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • metals
  • impact assessment
  • release quantification
  • inventory modelling
  • speciation,
  • human health impacts
  • ecosystem impacts
  • environmentally-sustainable agriculture
  • pesticides
  • fertilizer
  • manure
  • animal feed

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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