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Impact of the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris (L.) on As, Cu, Pb and Zn mobility and speciation in contaminated soils

By Tom Sizmur, Barbara Palumbo-Roe, Michael J. Watts and Mark E. Hodson

Abstract

To assess the risks that contaminated soils pose to the environment properly a greater understanding of how soil biota influence the mobility of metal(loid)s in soils is required. Lumbricus terrestris L. were incubated in three soils contaminated with As, Cu, Pb and Zn. The concentration and speciation of metal(loid)s in pore waters and the mobility and partitioning in casts were compared with earthworm-free soil. Generally the concentrations of water extractable metal(loid)s in earthworm casts were greater than in earthworm-free soil. The impact of the earthworms on concentration and speciation in pore waters was soil and metal specific and could be explained either by earthworm induced changes in soil pH or soluble organic carbon. The mobilisation of metal(loid)s in the environment by earthworm activity may allow for leaching or uptake into biota.\ud \u

Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.11.033
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:15028

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