Higher concentrations of microplastics in runoff from biosolid-amended croplands than manure-amended croplands

Nasrin Naderi Beni, Shahab Karimifard, John Gilley, Tiffany Messer, Amy Schmidt, Shannon Bartelt-Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Land-applied municipal biosolids, produced from municipal wastewater treatment sludge, contributes to microplastics contamination in agroecosystems. The impacts of biosolids on microplastic concentrations in agricultural soil have been previously investigated, however, the potential for microplastics transport from biosolid-amended croplands has not been previously quantified. In this study, manure and biosolids were applied to field plots, runoff was collected following natural precipitation events and the potential of bacterial biofilm to grow on different microplastic morphologies was investigated. Higher concentrations of microplastics were detected in runoff from plots with land-applied biosolid in comparison with manure-amended and control plots. Fibers and fragments were the most frequently detected plastic morphologies in runoff, correlated with their decreased surface roughness. The potential of biosolids to contribute to microplastic contamination to U.S. surface waters was quantified which is among the first to quantify the potential for nonpoint source microplastic contamination of surface waters adjacent to agricultural production areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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