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Article

Microplastics in Agricultural Soils: A Case Study in Cultivation of Watermelons and Canning Tomatoes

1
School of Science and Technology, Hellenic Open University, Parodos Aristotelous 18, 26335 Patras, Greece
2
Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, 26504 Patras, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Luiza Campos
Water 2021, 13(16), 2168; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162168
Received: 30 June 2021 / Revised: 4 August 2021 / Accepted: 4 August 2021 / Published: 7 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplastics in Water Bodies and in the Environment)
Thirty soil samples were collected from fields that have been used for cultivating watermelons and canning tomatoes for over 10 years. The microplastics (MPs) within these samples were separated with a density floatation method and the use of sieves and filters. The microplastics found were black and originated from the black agricultural mulch film (BMF) used in these cultivations. ATR-FTIR spectroscopy revealed that these microplastics are of the same material as the virgin BMF and as a virgin polyethylene film used as blank. SEM images showed that used BMF and MPs found in soil were oxidized by their exposure to sunlight and create fibrous edges that lead to the creation of smaller size MPs. The number of MPs found in fields with watermelon (301 ± 140 items kg−1) were more than four times higher than in fields with canning tomatoes (69 ± 38 items kg−1) due to the double planting each year and to the second planting last year being closer to the sampling episode. All the sample sites were collected from agricultural fields away from the industrial area; therefore, these results prove that agricultural activities might have caused contamination of soils with MPs. This is corroborated even more by the fact that no MPs were found in five extra samples that were taken from uncultivated areas as blanks. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil pollution; microplastics; environment; agricultural fields soil pollution; microplastics; environment; agricultural fields
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MDPI and ACS Style

Isari, E.A.; Papaioannou, D.; Kalavrouziotis, I.K.; Karapanagioti, H.K. Microplastics in Agricultural Soils: A Case Study in Cultivation of Watermelons and Canning Tomatoes. Water 2021, 13, 2168. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162168

AMA Style

Isari EA, Papaioannou D, Kalavrouziotis IK, Karapanagioti HK. Microplastics in Agricultural Soils: A Case Study in Cultivation of Watermelons and Canning Tomatoes. Water. 2021; 13(16):2168. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162168

Chicago/Turabian Style

Isari, Ekavi A., Dimitrios Papaioannou, Ioannis K. Kalavrouziotis, and Hrissi K. Karapanagioti. 2021. "Microplastics in Agricultural Soils: A Case Study in Cultivation of Watermelons and Canning Tomatoes" Water 13, no. 16: 2168. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162168

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