Environmental controls on the production of calcium carbonate by earthworms

Emma Versteegh, Stuart Black, Mark Edward Hodson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lumbricus terrestris earthworms produce calcium carbonate (CaCO3) granules with unknown physiological function. To investigate carbon sequestration potential, the influence of temperature and CO2 concentration ([CO2]) on CaCO3 production was investigated using three soils, five temperatures (3-20 C) and four atmospheric [CO2] (439-3793 ppm). Granule production rates differed between soils, but could not be related to any soil characteristics measured. Production rates increased with temperature, probably because of higher metabolic rate, and with soil CO2 concentration. Implications for carbon sequestration are discussed. CaCO3 production in earthworms is probably related to pH regulation of blood and tissue fluid in the high CO2 environment of the soil.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-161
Number of pages3
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Early online date3 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2013 The authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works License, which per-mits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • calcite
  • earthworm
  • calcium carbonate
  • CO2

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