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Wiebke Mareile Heinze

Wiebke Mareile Heinze
In order to know what potential impacts microplastics may have, we first need to understand where they are in the soil and whether their distribution may change over time. We need to consider many different factors to understand transport processes of microplastics in soil, starting with soil structure, soil fauna, climatic factors, but also the different kinds, sizes and shapes of microplastics that we find in the environment.


"I wasn't interested in soils until one fateful day during my bachelors when I went to a lecture in soil science - mostly because other friends went and I had some free time, and why not? That afternoon I walked out of the lecture knowing that there was little I had encountered that was as fascinating as soil, and I knew what I wanted to work with in the future. So this is where I am now."


Environmental Geochemistry (master level course at SLU)


After having investigated the transport of nanoplastics and microplastic fibres in the laboratory, we are currently looking at their distribution in the field. We hope to see if the trends we observed in the laboratory are also visible in the field: Are microplastics transported into deeper soil layers?

Environmental analysis

  • Microplastic extraction from soil for micro-FT-IR and Py-GC/MS analysis
  • Acid extraction and metal analysis of soils, ICP-MS
  • Non-destructive geophysical exploration (Electrical resistivity tomography)


  • 2020-ongoing: PhD student in soil chemistry, SLU, Department Soil & Environment
  • 2017-2019: Master of Science in Environmental Sciences with a focus on soil and land use, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
  • 2012-2017: Bachelor of Science in Geography


  • Nora Ottander (master thesis project)
  • Kathrin A. Leicht (research internship)

Selected publications

Heinze, W. M.; Mitrano, D. M.; Lahive, E.; Koestel, J.; Cornelis, G. Nanoplastic Transport in Soil via Bioturbation by Lumbricus Terrestris. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2021, 55 (24), 16423–16433.

Thomas, D.; Schütze, B.; Heinze, W. M.; Steinmetz, Z. Sample Preparation Techniques for the Analysis of Microplastics in Soil—A Review. Sustainability 2020, 12 (21), 9074.




Doctoral Student at the Department of Soil and Environment; Soil chemistry
Telephone: +4618673148, +46730710608
Postal address:
Box 7014
750 07 Uppsala
Visiting address: Lennart Hjelms väg 9, Uppsala