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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-748
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

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