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Assessment of earthworm activity on Cu, Cd, Pb and Zn bioavailability in contaminated soils using biota to soil accumulation factor and DTPA extraction

Abstract : The study aims to investigate effect of earthworm activity on metal bioavailability in soils using their BSAF-metals. Based on a microcosmic laboratory experiment, epigeic species Amynthas corticis (A. corticis) and endogeic species Amynthas robustus (A. robustus) were cultured in two types of soils contaminated by Cd, Zn, Pb and Cu for 120 days. Earthworm characteristics (i.e. numbers, biomass and BSAF), soil properties (i.e. pH, organic C and N contents along with their components such as mineralization and microbial masses) and DTPA extracted metals in soil were determined. After the incubation, the biomass and survival numbers of both earthworm species decreased significantly (P < 0.05). The accumulation of Cd, Zn and Pb in earthworm tissues and BSAF-metals were earthworm species dependent. According to two-way ANOVA, BSAF-Pb clearly showed the effect of different species of earthworms while BSAF-Cu indicated an interactive effect of earthworms and soil type. Earthworms changed soil properties significantly, especially for mineralized C (Cmin), dissolved N (Ndis) and pH (P < 0.05). Earthworm activity increase DTPA extracted Zn and Cu, and the effect of A. robustus were stronger than for A. corticis. Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that BSAF-Cu and BSAF-Pb contributed for respectively 51.9% and 51.7% of soil properties and DTPA metal changes, indicating that the effects of BSAF-Cu and BSAF-Pb on soil properties and on metal bioavailability in soil were similar. BSAF-Cu, indicating the interactive effect of earthworms and soil, accounted for 38.5% and 45.1% of soil properties and soil metal bioavailability changes. BSAF-Pb, representing the effect of earthworm species, accounted for 13.3% and 6.6% of soil property and soil metal bioavailability variations. Stepwise regression indicated that earthworm might change soil properties through their activities and interactions with soil, and hence increase heavy metal bioavailability. It suggested that BSAF is an important indicator for evaluating the effect of earthworm activity on soil metal bioavailability and designing remediation strategies.
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Ling Xiao, Ming-Hui Li, Jun Dai, Mikael Motelica-Heino, Xu-Fei Chen, et al.. Assessment of earthworm activity on Cu, Cd, Pb and Zn bioavailability in contaminated soils using biota to soil accumulation factor and DTPA extraction. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, Elsevier, 2020, 195, pp.110513. ⟨10.1016/j.ecoenv.2020.110513⟩. ⟨insu-02518165⟩

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