Plastic production, growing exponentially since the 1950s, has surpassed that of most of man-made materials, declaring plastics the main geological marker of the so-called “Anthropocene”. Taking into account all the plastics produced so far, only 9% have been recycled and another 12% incinerated. The rest has not been managed, having been dumped in landfills or the natural ecosystems, with a global distribution from terrestrial to freshwater, marine and atmospheric environments.

Once in the different environments, plastics undergo ageing, may leach toxic components and breakup in micro- and even in nano-plastics. Therefore, it is particularly urgent to study how micro- and nano-plastics interact with different plant species, both indirectly, by altering the physico-chemical properties of the growth medium, included plant-associated microbial communities, and directly, being also potentially taken up by plants and consequently altering their cellular physiology, growth, development, and productivity.

This special Issue of Frontiers in Plant Science welcomes the submission of original papers, short communications and reviews presenting research focused on the interaction between micro/nano-plastics and higher plants to enrich scientific literature, being many questions still outstanding on the subject. Current literature suggests influences of micro/nano- plastics on plants at different levels of organization, from the cellular and subcellular levels to the whole organism, but several aspects need clarification. Among them, the possible pathway for the uptake, the movement of plastics inside plants and the molecular mechanisms of their effects on cellular metabolism, structure and ultrastructure are of particular
interest. Manuscript dealing with the effects of these plastic materials on germination, growth, whole plant and cellular metabolism are needed to clarify the potential risks caused by micro/nano plastics, depending on their size, charge, polymer type, way of exposure, and by their interactions with other environmental pollutants, in short- and/or long-term treatments.

Research topic on the following topics, but not limited to:

– Advanced approaches for assessing toxicological profiles of nano and microplastics at cellular and whole plant level

– Genetic and epigenetic changes as plant response to nano and microplastics exposure

– Effects of nano and microplastics on cell physiology and cell’s redox status

– Cellular damages induced by nano and microplastics

– Uptake and translocation mechanisms of nano and microplastics in different cellular compartments and plant organs

– Interactions of nano and microplastics with cell wall and membranes

– Nano and microplastics as carriers for other pollutants hazardous for plant cells