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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2003 Mar;54(3):277-89.

Metal uptake from soils and soil-sediment mixtures by larvae of Tenebrio molitor (L.) (Coleoptera).

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  • 1Laboratory of Ecological Risk Assessment, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, P.O. Box 1, BA 3720 Bilthoven, Netherlands.


Bioassays were performed to evaluate the impact of soil characteristics on Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn uptake by larvae of Tenebrio molitor. Metal accumulation was determined in 13 natural field soils, one metal-spiked field soil, four soil-sediment mixtures, and Cd- or Zn-spiked OECD artificial soil. Statistical analyses were used to investigate covariation of accumulation patterns with various soil metal pools and soil properties. Body concentrations of Cu and Zn in Zn-spiked OECD soils, field soils, and soil-sediment mixtures mostly remained constant. Considerable variation was noted for all Cd and Pb steady-state body concentrations among field soils and soil-sediment mixtures. For the spiked field soil and in the Cd-spiked OECD soil, body concentrations increased almost linearly with time. For the nonessential metals Cd and Pb, larval body concentrations correlated mainly to the total metal pool of the soil. Cd uptake at similar total Cd concentrations was within the same range among spiked OECD soils, field soils, and mixtures. A comparison of the findings with studies on other soil-inhabiting species shows that metal uptake patterns depend on metal type, soil type, and exposed species. It is suggested that soil organisms can be categorized according to gross divergence in ecophysiological characteristics, determined by, for instance, (non)permeability of the outer integument. These characteristics appear as similarities among multivariate functions as derived for the beetle.

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