The current state of the art in research on engineered nanomaterials and terrestrial environments: Different-scale approaches

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Recent studies regarding the environmental fate of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) reported that most ENMs were eventually deposited in landfills. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the environmental effects of ENMs on soils through long-term and environmentally relevant studies. Our review of 65 studies published since 2007 revealed that ENMs had adverse effects on terrestrial species, including soil microorganisms, plants, and earthworms. The papers reported the results of soil toxicity tests for ENMs at the microcosm and mesocosm levels, in the field, and through food chains, as well as their effects on species sensitivity distributions. Little research has been conducted on the interaction between ENMs and actual environmental conditions, such as their effects on a community of multiple species or species sensitivity distributions. Few studies have used mesocosms, and only a single study has been conducted in the field. The present review provides a broad perspective on the impact of ENMs on soil organisms as reported in the literature and highlights directions for future work.

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