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Cadmium and Mercury Contamination E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Monday, 02 July 2007

Cadmium and Mercury Contamination

THE IMPACT OF CADMIUM AND MERCURY CONTAMINATION ON REPRODUCTION AND BODY MASS OF THE EARTHWORMS EISENIA FETIDA (SAV.)

Stanisław Łapiński1, Maria Rościszewska2

1 – Department of Small Animal Breeding, Agricultural University of Cracow, al. Mickiewicza 24/28, 30-059 Krakow, Poland

2 –Department of Zoology and Ecology, Agricultural University of Cracow, al. Mickiewicza 24/28, 30-059 Krakow, Poland

The accumulation of heavy metals in the tissues of earthworms is a helpful indicator of environmental contamination. The degree of substrate contamination can be additionally evaluated on the basis of survivability, reproduction and body mass of earthworms. In this study, in laboratory conditions, Eisenia fetida (Sav.) earthworms were exposed to a series of increasing concentrations of cadmium and mercury (2 , 4, 6, 8, 10μg/g dry mass of substrate). The numbers of animals and their body mass were checked after 4 and 8 months. The strongest impact of substrate contamination was exerted upon the number of young individuals and cocoons. The cadmium contamination did not affect adversely the mass of earthworms, whereas in the mercury-contaminated group the decline in body mass was evident. After 8 months of experiments, the heavy metal content in the bodies of earthworms was determined using atomic absorption spectrometry. An evident relationship between the cadmium and mercury contents in the substrate and their accumulation in earthworms' tissues was found. The concentration in the bodies exceeded the level in the substrate.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 July 2007 )
 
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