Soil plastisphere: Exploration methods, influencing factors, and ecological insights

Chengqian Wang, Liuwei Wang, Yong Sik Ok, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Deyi Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Microplastic (MP), an emerging contaminant, is globally prevalent and poses potential environmental threats and ecological risks to both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. When MPs enter into natural environments, they may serve as artificial substrates for microbial colonization and plastisphere formation, providing new ecological niches for microorganisms. Recent studies of the plastisphere have focused on aquatic ecosystems. However, our understanding of the soil plastisphere e.g. its formation process, microbial ecology, co-transport of organic pollutants and heavy metals, and effects on biogeochemical processes is still very limited. This review summarizes latest methods used to explore the soil plastisphere, assesses the factors influencing the microbial ecology of the soil plastisphere, and sheds light on potential ecological risks caused by the soil plastisphere. The formation and succession of soil plastisphere communities can be driven by MP characteristics and soil environmental factors. The soil plastisphere may affect a series of ecological processes, especially the co-transport of environmental contaminants, biodegradation of MPs, and soil carbon cycling. We aim to narrow the knowledge gap between the soil and aquatic plastisphere, and provide valuable guidance for future research on the soil plastisphere in MP-contaminated soils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128503
JournalJournal of hazardous materials
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 15

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Ecological risks
  • Environmental pollution
  • Microorganisms
  • Microplastics
  • Soil plastisphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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