Skip to main content

Dataset of nanoplastic transport in soil via bioturbation by Lumbricus terrestris

Cite this dataset

Heinze, Wiebke Mareile et al. (2021). Dataset of nanoplastic transport in soil via bioturbation by Lumbricus terrestris [Dataset]. Dryad.


The dataset comprises data acquired in laboratory-based process-studies with microcosms on the transport of nanoplastics (polystyrene, 256 nm diameter) in an agricultural soil via bioturbation over the course of 4 weeks. Transport of nanoplastics was monitored through the use of palladium (Pd)-doped nanoplastics (0.24 % w/w) by analyzing soil samples at specific depths (0-2 cm, 2-6 cm, 6-15 cm, 15-29 cm) after defined experimental times (7, 14, 21, 28 days). Microcosms consisted of 30 cm height, 10 cm diameter soil columns which were set up with or without earthworms and with or without nanoplastics spiked to the uppermost 2 cm. Two experimental runs were executed with the first (Exp1) designed to focus on the average transport within the soil profile over time, and the second (Exp2) focussing on the smaller scale distribution of the nanoplastics in the soil (i.e. soil matrix versus drilosphere) while monitoring earthworm burrow development over time using X-ray computed tomography. In the first experiment, earthworms were measured for their nanoplastic content after the experiment.

The dataset made available here comprises the details of the microcosm setup for Exp1 and Exp2, details on detected nanoplastic concentrations for the average soil profile (Exp1), drilosphere and soil matrix (Exp2), as well as detected concentrations in earthworm tissue and monitoring of earthworm weight (Exp1). A selection of X-ray CT images is also provided, chosen based on the considered highest relevance. X-ray CT scans of other measurement timepoints are available upon request.


The dataset comprises

  • Setup details of the microcosms, including soil weight, spike concentrations and setup/sampling/measurement dates
  • Detected Pd-concentrations in soil (Pd-doped nanoplastics), including soil matrix and drilosphere samples, and earthworm tissue with the corresponding nanoplastics concentrations; Method for detection and quantification: ICP-MS
  • Grayscale images with minor pre-processing (reducing data volume by straightening and reducing canvas): X-ray computed tomography

Usage notes

Please read ReadMe file before usage and contact authors for further information or questions.


Swiss National Science Foundation, Award: EU Horizon 2020 720952

Swiss National Science Foundation, Award: 2018-01080

Swiss National Science Foundation, Award: PZ00P2_168105

Swiss National Science Foundation, Award: PCEFP2_186856