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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Fate of microplastics in sewage sludge and in agricultural soils

Hooge, Asta; Hauggaard-Nielsen, Henrik; Heinze, Wiebke M.; Lyngsie, Gry; Ramos, Tiffany M.; Sandgaard, Monica H.; Vollertsen, Jes; Syberg, Kristian


The aim of this study was to review microplastics (MPs) occurrence in sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and assess implications of sludge application to agricultural soils. Sludge is a main sink for MPs in WWTPs, highlighting the importance of sludge as a route for environmental exposure. Sludge application on agricultural fields is associated with elevated MP concentrations in soils, potentially affecting soil health. However, prior to application sludge treatments may alter MP abundance and MPs properties, such as shape and size, subsequently affecting environmental risk. Knowledge gaps still exist regarding sludge treatments and their effect on MPs (size, shape abundance). Further investigation is needed to assess the risk of MPs exposure at WWTPs, explore the effects of sludge treatments on soil health, and to better understand how management at WWTPs, and in agricultural systems, affect MP properties. & COPY; 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (


Plastic particles; Sludge treatment; WWTP; Plastic pollution; Biosolids; Soil health

Published in

Trends in Analytical Chemistry
2023, Volume: 166, article number: 117184

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    UKÄ Subject classification

    Analytical Chemistry
    Soil Science
    Environmental Sciences

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