MINAGRIS: MIcro- and NAno-Plastics in AGRIcultural Soils: sources, environmental fate and effects on ecosystem


The use of plastics in agriculture can have harmful effects on a wide range of ecosystem areas due to the resulting higher accumulation of micro- and nanoplastics in the soil. In this project, the use of plastics in agriculture, for example in vegetable cultivation and after long-term compost application, will be investigated in more detail. The goal of this project is to obtain more accurate data on the degree of pollution of agricultural land with plastics, as well as to facilitate the use of more sustainable plastics in agriculture in the future.

Project description

Although the use of plastics in agriculture brings many benefits, it also poses dangers because the fields are polluted by the plastics. The tiny particles of various micro and nano plastics are ingested by various organisms. The uptake can endanger the nutrient cycle, plant growth or biodiversity. One goal of the MINAGRIS project is to research the use and impact of plastics in agriculture and to work out how to use plastics in agriculture in a more sustainable way. The findings will be discussed with farmers, businesses and policy makers and pave the way for the sustainable use of plastics. A cornerstone of the MINAGRIS strategy is to provide an overview of the intentional and unintentional use of plastics in European agriculture and an accurate estimate of the pollution levels of plastics in agricultural soils.

Interim results

In the Austrian case study sites Marchfeld and Alpenvorland 20 farmers were interviewed about the use of and possible contamination with plastics on their farms. Furthermore, soil samples were taken from two fields per farm. These were analyzed for macro- and microplastics.

Benefits for society

MINAGRIS is based on the involvement of stakeholders and the identification of needs, the improvement of awareness of farmers as well as citizens. The project will develop new strategies to reduce plastic pollution.

Project details

Project acronym: MINAGRIS

Project management: Wageningen University

Project leader AGES: DI Dr. Heide Spiegel

Project partners: 20 partners from different countries in the EU

Funding: EU program for research and innovation Horizon 2020

Project duration: 09/2021 to 08/2026

More information

Project website


Lwanga, E.H., Beriot, N., Corradini, F., Silva, V., Yang, X., Baartman, J., Rezaei, M., van Schaik, L., Riksen, M., Geissen, V., 2022. Review of microplastic sources, transport pathways and correlations with other soil stressors: a journey from agricultural sites into the environment. Chemical and Biological Technologies in Agriculture 9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40538-021-00278-9

Last updated: 05.06.2023

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