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Potential of earthworms to accelerate removal of organic contaminants from soil: A review

Authors
  • Rodriguez-Campos, Jacobo
  • Dendooven, Luc
  • Alvarez-Bernal, Dioselina
  • Contreras-Ramos, Silvia Maribel1, 2, 3, 4
  • 1 Metrologic and Analytical Service Unit, Centre for Research and Assistance in Technology and Design of the Jalisco state, A.C. (CIATEJ)
  • 2 Laboratory of Soil Ecology, ABACUS, Cinvestav
  • 3 Interdisciplinary Research Centre for the Integral Regional Development (CIIDIR-IPN, Michoacán)
  • 4 Environmental Technology Unit, Centre for Research and Assistance in Technology and Design of the Jalisco state, A.C. (CIATEJ)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Applied Soil Ecology
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
Accepted Date
Feb 18, 2014
Volume
79
Pages
10–25
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2014.02.010
Source
Elsevier
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Earthworms can accelerate the removal of contaminants from soil. Earthworms change the physical and chemical properties of soil by mixing it with organic material and through their burrowing they improve aeration and render contaminants available for microorganisms. The presence of earthworms in contaminated soil indicate that they can survive a wide range of different organic contaminants, such as pesticides, herbicides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and crude oil, at least when concentrations of the contaminant are not too high. The improvement of the soil due to their activity and the microorganisms in their digestive track can contribute to the accelerated removal of contaminants from soil, but sometimes their casts adsorb the pollutant so that its dissipation is delayed. There are limits, however, on how earthworms can be used to remediate soil, which will be discussed in this review.

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