The (non)sense of particles in soils

Senast ändrad: 27 september 2018

Av Geert Cornelis

The fate of particles in soils remains elusive despite having been studied for nearly a century now. However, particles play a vital role in most transport processes in soils, especially of contaminants or essential nutrients that sorb strongly to soil surfaces. Predicting particle fate more accurately would thus be highly beneficial for developing more accurate risk assessments or fertilization strategies. The last decade has seen a surge in research activity in this field sparked by questions on the risk of engineered nanoparticles, resulting not only in an enhanced knowledge of basic processes relevant for soils, but also an expansion of the toolbox to study the pathways akin to particles in soils. This presentation will reveal how this toolbox can be used to further expand the knowledge of the kinetics limiting the transport and bioavailability of particles in soils. The kinetics of how particles detach from surfaces, in particular, is poorly understood and needs parameterization. This knowledge and an ever expanding analytical toolbox will be used to detect and model the fate of particulate contaminants such as microplastics and nanoplastics that have recently come into focus, but can potentially also used to engineer nanofertilizers and nanopesticides, delivering their payloads more targeted than conventional soil amendments.

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