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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2001 Sep;50(1):25-43.

Enchytraeids as indicator organisms for chemical stress in terrestrial ecosystems.

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Subdepartment of Soil Quality, Wageningen University, 6700 EC Wageningen, The Netherlands. Wim.Didden@BB.BenP.Wau.NL


This review article surveys the available data on enchytraeid sensitivity toward chemical stress, and the effects of chemical stress on enchytraeid communities in terrestrial ecosystems. The factors affecting bioavailability of stressors to enchytraeids and the nature of direct and indirect effects that may occur are discussed, and the importance of laboratory tests and field studies for the evaluation of toxic effects is underlined. The existing data on specific types of stressors such as pesticides, metals, fertilizers, and industrial and domestic chemicals often show clear responses of enchytraeids, and in many cases interspecific differences in sensitivity are recorded. It is concluded that, although in several fields additional data are required, there are good perspectives for the use of enchytraeids as indicator organisms.

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