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Environ Pollut. 2009 Oct;157(10):2622-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2009.05.002. Epub 2009 May 30.

Uptake kinetics of metals by the earthworm Eisenia fetida exposed to field-contaminated soils.

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Laboratoire Interactions Ecotoxicité, Biodiversité, Ecosystèmes, CNRS UMR 7146, Université Paul Verlaine-Metz, Rue du Général Delestraint, 57070 Metz, France.


It is well known that earthworms can accumulate metals. However, most accumulation studies focus on Cd-, Cu-, Pb- or Zn-amended soils, additionally few studies consider accumulation kinetics. Here we model the accumulation kinetics of 18 elements by Eisenia fetida, exposed to 8 metal-contaminated and 2 uncontaminated soils. Tissue metal concentration was determined after 3, 7, 14, 21, 28 and 42 days. Metal elimination rate was important in determining time to reach steady-state tissue metal concentration. Uptake flux to elimination rate ratios showed less variation and lower values for essential than for non-essential metals. In theory kinetic rate constants are dependent only on species and metal. Therefore it should be possible to predict steady-state tissue metal concentrations on the basis of very few measurements using the rate constants. However, our experiments show that it is difficult to extrapolate the accumulation kinetic constants derived using one soil to another.

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