The soil in the vicinity of stream of Buddah Nullah in Ludhiana, Punjab has been found to be contaminated with heavy metals. The objective of this paper was to conduct studies with earthworm Eisenia fetida (Savigny) exposed to five soil samples collected from different sites around the stream of Buddah Nullah, since no such work has been done using earthworm as bio- indicator of soil pollution in that area to check the hazardous effects of heavy metals on soil organisms. Metal levels were recorded higher in contaminated soil samples than threshold concentration in soil of campus field. Adult E. fetida were exposed for a period of 80 days to evaluate the effects of elevated levels of heavy metals i.e.0.29 ppm, 4.18 ppm and 2.29 ppm for cadmium, lead and nickel respectively on survival, growth, morphology and reproduction. Significant effects were observed on survival, growth and reproduction of the tested organisms along with various morphological abnormalities such as tail shedding, body fragmentation and extrusion of coelomic fluid. But no such deformity was observed in worms reared in reference soil of university campus field. Detrimental effects on rates of cocoon production and hatchling emergence were observed and a significant delay was also recorded in production of cocoons and emergence of hatchlings. Results of the study indicated that reproductive end points were more sensitive to elevated metal levels in contaminated soil than survival or weight change.
Eisenia fetida (Savigny), Heavy metals, Reproduction, Soil contamination, Survival
Brar, M. S., Khurana, M.P.S. and Kansal, B. D. (2002). Effects of irrigation by untreated sewage effluents on the micro and potentially toxic elements in soils and plants. Proc. 17th World Congress Soil Sciience, Bangkok, Thailand 4(198):1-10.
Davies, N. A., Hodson, M. E. and Black, S. (2003). The influence of time on lead toxicity and bioaccumulation determined by the OECD earthworm toxicity test. Environmental Pollution, 21:55-61.
Dowdy, R. H., Lattreell, J. J., Hinesly, T. D., Grassman, R. B. and Sullivan, D. L. (1991). Trace metal movement in an aericochraqualf following 14 years of annual sludge application. Journal of Environmental Quality, 20:119-23.
Fordsmand, S. J. J., Weeks, M. J. and Hopkin, S. P. (1998). Toxicity of nickel to the earthworm and the applicability of the neutral red retention assay. Ecotoxicology, 7(5): 291-95
Garg, P., Satya, S. and Sharma, S. (2009). Effect of heavy metal supplementation on local (Allolobophora parva) and exotic (Eisenia fetida) earthworm species: A comparative study. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, 44(A): 1025-32.
Gupta, S. K., Murthy, R. C. and Saxena, D. K. (1999). Effect of cadmium on the hatching of Metaphire posthuma cocoons. Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, 12 (1): 50-53.
Haghparast, J. R., Gochin, A. and Kahneh, E. (2009).To study effect of heavy metals contamination on growth of earthworm (Eisenia fetida) in two calcareous and acidic soils. Biophysical and socio economic frame conditions for the sustainable management of natural resources. Topentag, Hamburg, Germany.
Hirano, T. and Tamae, K. (2011). Earthworms and soil pollutants. Sensors (Basel), 11(12):11157-67
Khalil, A. M. (2013). Ecotoxicological bioassays of the earthworms Allolobophora caliginosa savigny and Pheretima hawayana rosa treated with arsenate. On Line Journal of Biological Sciences, 13(3): 99-105.
Kobeticova, K., Hofman, J. and Holoubek, I. (2010). Ecotoxicity of wastes in avoidance tests with Enchytraeus albidus, Enchytraeus crypticus and Eisenia fetida (Oligochaeta). Waste Management, 30(4): 558-64.
Kuhad, M. S., Malik, R. S., Singh, R. and Singh, A. (1989). Studies on mobility and accumulation of heavy metals in agricultural soils receiving sewer water irrigation. Journal of Indian Society of Soil Science, 37: 290-94.
Maboeta, M. S., Reinecke, A. J. and Reinecke, S. A. (1999). Effects of low levels of lead on growth and reproduction of Asian earthworm Perionyx excavatus (Oligochaeta). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 44(3): 236-40.
Maboeta, M. S., Rensburg, V. L., Jansen, P. J. and Rensburg, V. (2008). Earthworm (Eisenia fetida) bioassay to assess the possible effects of platinum tailings disposal facilities on the environment along a gradient. Applied Ecology and Environment Research, 6(2): 13-19.
Maleri, R., Reinecke, S. A., Przybylowicz, J. M. and Reinecke, A. J. (2007). Growth and reproduction of earthworms in ultramafic soils. Archieves of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 52(3): 363-70.
Miguel, A., DomÃnguez, C. Z., HernÃ¡ndez, E. S., AidÃ©, M., Huerta, T., De la Luz, X. M., RodrÃguez, N., Barajas, C. E. and Vela, A. F. (2012). Effect of the heavy metals Cu, Ni, Cd and Zn on the growth and reproduction of epigeic earthworms (E. fetida) during the vermistabilization of municipal sewage sludge. Water Air and Soil Pollution, 223(2):915-931.
Owojori, J. O., Reinecke, A. J. and Rozanov, A. B. (2009). The combined effects of salinity and copper on the earthworm Eisenia fetida. Applied Soil Ecology, 41(3): 277-85.
Panda, R., Pati, S. S. and Sahu, S. K. (1999). Accumulation of zinc and its effects on the growth, reproduction and life cycle of Drawida Willsi (Oligochaeta), a dominant earthworm in Indian crop fields. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 29: 419-23.
Rao, J. V., Kavitha, P. and Rao, A. P. (2003). Comparative toxicity of tetraethyl lead and lead oxide to earthworms, Eisenia fetida. Environmental Research, 92(3): 271-76.
Sahu, S. K. and Senapati, B. K. (1988). Alternative proposals for quantification of reproduction in a tropical earthworm. Tropical Ecology, 29: 6-14.
Savard, K., Berthelot, Y., Auroy, A., Spear, P. A., Trottier, B. and Robidoux, P. Y. (2007). Effects of HMX-lead mixtures on reproduction of the earthworm Eisenia Andrei. Archieves of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 53: 351-58.
Shin, K., Kim, J. and Kim, K. (2007). Earthworm toxicity test for the monitoring arsenic and heavy metal containing mine tailings. Environmental Engineering Science, 24(9): 1257-65.
Spurgeon, D. J., Hopkin, S. P. and Jones, D. T. (1994). Effects of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc on growth, reproduction and survival of the earthworm Eisenia fetida (Savigny): Assessing the environmental impact of point-source metal contamination in terrestrial ecosystem. Environmental Pollution, 84: 123-30.
Spurgeon, D. J. and Hopkin, S. P. (1995). Extrapolation of the laboratory based OECD earthworm toxicity test to meta contaminated field sites. Ecotoxicology,4(3):190-205.
Spurgeon, D. J., Ricketts, H., Svendsen, C., Morgan, A. J. and Kille, P. (2005). Hierarchial responses of soil invertebrates (earthworms) to toxic metal stress. Environmental Science and Technology, 39: 5327-34.
Zaltauskaite, J. and Sodiene, I. (2010). Effects of total cadmium and lead concentration in soil on the growth, reproduction and survival of earthworm Eisenia fetida. Ekologia, 56(1-2): 10-16.
Zhang, J., Yu, J., Ouyang, Y. H. and Xu, H. (2013). Responses of earthworms to aluminum toxicity in latosol. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 20(2): 1135-1141.
This work is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) © Author (s)