Weathering of microplastics and interaction with other coexisting constituents in terrestrial and aquatic environments

Duan, J. and Bolan, N. and Li, Y. and Ding, S. and Atugoda, T. and Vithanage, M. and Sarkar, B. and Tsang, D.C.W. and Kirkham, M.B. (2021) Weathering of microplastics and interaction with other coexisting constituents in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Water Research, 196: 117011. ISSN 0043-1354

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Weathering of microplastics (MPs, <5 mm) in terrestrial and aquatic environments affects MP transport and distribution. This paper first summarizes the sources of MPs, including refuse in landfills, biowastes, plastic films, and wastewater discharge. Once MPs enter water and soil, they undergo different weathering processes. MPs can be converted into small molecules (e.g., oligomers and monomers), and may be completely mineralized under the action of free radicals or microorganisms. The rate and extent of weathering of MPs depend on their physicochemical properties and environmental conditions of the media to which they are exposed. In general, water dissipates heat better, and has a lower temperature, than land; thus, the weathering rate of MPs in the aquatic environment is slower than in the terrestrial environment. These weathering processes increase oxygen-containing functional groups and the specific surface area of MPs, which influence the sorption and aggregation that occur between weathered MPs and their co-existing constituents. More studies are needed to investigate the various weathering processes of diverse MPs under natural field conditions in soils, sediments, and aquatic environments, to understand the impact of weathered MPs in the environment.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Water Research
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Water Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Water Research, 196, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2021.117011
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? aggregationaginginfluence factorsmicroplasticsphysicochemical propertysorptionpollutionenvironmental chemistrywater science and technologywaste management and disposalecological modelling ??
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Deposited On:
13 Apr 2021 10:30
Last Modified:
20 Feb 2024 00:55