, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 7-12

Avoidance test withEisenia fetida as indicator for the habitat function of soils: Results of a laboratory comparison test

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The avoidance test withE. fetida was performed as laboratory comparison test. The results were compared with those of the earthworm acute and reproduction tests carried out with the same soils.


The three tests were performed by three laboratories using eight contaminated soils and three control soils. The contaminated soils were mixed with the control soils to obtain different concentrations of the contamination.

Results and Discussion

The results of the avoidance test show that despite the partially considerable standard deviations a 72% agreement in the assessment of soils was reached with a toxicity criterion of >80% avoidance response. The sensitivity is at least that for the reproduction test and considerably surmounts the sensitivity of the acute test.

Recommendation and Outlook

The avoidance test is considered to be a suitable screening test for assessing the habitat function of soils. The whole test design could be improved by reducing the standard deviations among parallel test batches. With regard to standardization it is recommended to use control soils which have the same properties as the soils described in respective guidelines (e.g. ISO 11269-2, OECD 216, 217).