Plastics, Micro- and Nanomaterials, and Virus-Soil Microbe-Plant Interactions in the Environment

  • Gero BenckiserEmail author
Part of the Nanotechnology in the Life Sciences book series (NALIS)


Over the course of civilization humans have produced a spectrum of over 90 million substances and Nature has also designed certain substance; for example, nitrification inhibitors. It is well-known that the substances produced by humans leave some waste at target locations and this waste is spread in various environments, where, in soils, micro- and nanopollutants are adsorbed and degraded better than in aquatic systems.

Current global plastic production is 320 million tons (Mt) per year. A doubling in the next 20 years is expected and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are seen as primary barriers against the spread of micro- and nanopollutants, particularly when they are equipped with activated carbon adsorption, advanced oxidation processes, nano-filtration, reverse osmosis, or membrane bioreactors. Administration, WWTP, and soil management sectors will have to improve not only plastic recycling but also to develop a micro- and nanotechnology steering strategy; various fields in science and industry are active in this technology with the aims of improving health and food quality and security and reducing plant diseases..

Various cost- and time-pressure aspects drive the emerging of miniaturization processes at a very rapid pace. Particularly important in diagnostic, medical, and food analysis applications are mechanical and electro-mechanical elements, embedded microfluidic devices, and fabricated micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). Small chips can contain many of the required components of a typical room-sized laboratory, and MEMS challenge recycling and investigative specialists. In our Plastocene world, our concerned aims in regard to WWTPs and agriculture are to understand when microorganisms or plants experience positive, adverse, and inhibitory effects of nano-sized metals and their oxides, such as Ag, Cu, CuO, Cu-chitosan, Zn, ZnO, Fe, Mn, Al, Au, CeO2, TiO2, and SiO2; and how micro- and nanopollutant recycling can be solved.

Discussed in this chapter are the limitations and perceptions in organizing the Plastocene world, which is increasingly suffering from the spreading of micro- and nanoplastics.


Inorganic nanoparticles Nanoplastics Virus Plastic Nano-pollutants 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Applied MicrobiologyJustus Liebig University of GiessenGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Research Center for BioSystems, Land Use, and Nutrition (IFZ)Justus Liebig University of GiessenGiessenGermany

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