Skip to main content
Log in

Effects of Glyphosate and 2,4-D on Earthworms (Eisenia foetida) in Laboratory Tests

  • Published:
Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Laboratory tests were conducted to compare the effects of various concentrations of glyphosate and 2,4-D on earthworms (Eisenia foetida) cultured in Argissol during 56 days of incubation. The effects on earthworm growth, survival, and reproduction rates were verified for different exposure times. Earthworms kept in glyphosate-treated soil were classified as alive in all evaluations, but showed gradual and significant reduction in mean weight (50%) at all test concentrations. For 2,4-D, 100% mortality was observed in soil treated with 500 and 1,000 mg/kg. At 14 days, 30%–40% mortality levels were observed in all other concentrations. No cocoons or juveniles were found in soil treated with either herbicide. Glyphosate and 2,4-D demonstrated severe effects on the development and reproduction of Eisenia foetida in laboratory tests in the range of test concentrations.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Similar content being viewed by others


  • EMBRAPA – Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (1997) Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Solos. Manual de métodos de análise de solo, 2ª. ed. Rio de Janeiro, 212p

  • Barja BC, Santos MA (2005) Aminomethylphosphonic acid and glyphosate adsorption onto goethite: a comparative study. Environ Sci Technol 39:585–592

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Chingombe P, Saha B, Wakeman RJ (2006) Effect of surface modification of activated carbon on the sorption of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and benazolin from water. J Colloid Interfere Sci 297:434–442

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dalby PR, Baker GH, Smith SE (1995) Glyphosate, 2,4D and dimethoate: effects on earthworm survival and growth. Soil Biol Biochem 27:1661–1662

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dechema (1995) Biologische Testmethoden für Böden, 4. Bericht des interdisziplinären Arbeitskreises “Umweltbiotechnologie–Boden”; Ad-hoc-Arbeitsgruppe “Methoden zur ökotoxikologischen/ökotoxikologischen Bewertung von Böden” der DECHEMA e.V., Schön and Wetzel, Frankfurt A.M., Germany

  • Gallagher E, Di Giulio R (1991) Effects of 2,4-D dichlophenoxyacetic acid and picloran on biotransformation, peroxisomal and serum enzyme activities in channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). Toxicol Lett 57:65–72

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • ISO 11268-1 (1993) International Standard ISO 11268-1, 1993. Soil quality – effects of pollutants on earthworms (Eisenia fetida). 1. Determination of Acute Toxicity Using Artificial Soil Substrate. International Organization for Standardization, Genf

  • ISO 11268-2 (1998) International Standard ISO 11268-2, 1998. Soil quality – effects of pollutants on earthworms (Eisenia fetida). 2. Determination of Effects on Reproduction. International Organization for Standardization, Genf

  • Martin NA (1982) The effects of herbicides used on asparagus on the growth rate of the earthworm Allobophora caliginosa. In: Proceedings of the 35th New Zealand Weed and Pest Control Conference, pp 328–331

  • Morowati M (2000) Histochemical and histopathological study of the intestine of the earthworm (Pheretima elongate) exposed to a field dose of the herbicide glyphosate. Environmentalist 20:105–111

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sisino CLS, Bulus MRM, Rizzo AC, Moreira JC (2006) Ensaio de comportamento com minhocas (Eisenia fetida) para avaliação de áreas contaminadas: resultados preliminares para contaminação por hidrocarbonetos. J Braz Soc Ecotoxicol 1:137–140

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Springett JA, Gray RAJ (1992) Effect of repeated low doses of biocides on the earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa in laboratory culture. Soil Biol Biochem 24:1739–1744

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Vereecken H (2005) Mobility and leaching of glyphosate: a review. Pest Manage Sci 61:1139–1151

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • WHO Pesticide Residues in Food (1997) Part II – Toxicological and Environmental. WHO/PCS/98.6: 255–346

  • Woodburn AT (2000) Glyphosate: production, pricing, and use worldwide. Pest Manag Sci 56:309–312

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


The study was funded by the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq, Grant 555193) and the Rio de Janeiro State Research Foundation (FAPERJ, Call for Projects 10/2009).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to F. V. Correia.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Correia, F.V., Moreira, J.C. Effects of Glyphosate and 2,4-D on Earthworms (Eisenia foetida) in Laboratory Tests. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 85, 264–268 (2010).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: