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Environ Pollut. 2008 Sep;155(1):112-6. Epub 2007 Dec 11.

Avoidance test with Enchytraeus albidus (Enchytraeidae): effects of different exposure time and soil properties.

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  • 1CESAM-Center for Environmental and Marine Studies, and Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal.


Enchytraeids are ecologically relevant soil species and are commonly used in standardized toxicity tests. Their rapid reaction to a chemical exposure can be used as a toxicological measurement endpoint that assesses the avoidance behavior. The objectives of this investigation were to determine the effects of soil properties on the avoidance behavior of Enchytraeus albidus and to optimize the duration of avoidance test. The avoidance tests included (1) exposures in OECD artificial soil with standard or modified properties (pH, clay or peat content), and (2) exposures to copper chloride, cadmium chloride, and to the organic pesticides dimethoate and phenmedipham for different time periods. Results showed that alteration of OECD soil constituents significantly affected the avoidance behavior of enchytraeids, and that the 48-h exposure was the optimal duration of the test. Consideration of soil properties is important for selecting appropriate experimental design and interpreting the results of the enchytraeid avoidance test.

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