Earthworm Biomarkers in Ecological Risk Assessment

  • J. C. Sanchez-Hernandez
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 188)


Earthworms are important components of the soil system, mainly because of their favorable effects on soil structure and function (Paoletti 1999; Jongmans et al. 2003). Their burrowing and feeding activities contribute notably to increased water infiltration, soil aeration, and the stabilization of soil aggregates. In addition, earthworms help to increase soil fertility by formation of an organic matter layer in topsoil. These features, among others, have led to the popularity of earthworms as excellent bioindicators of soil pollution (Cortet et al. 1999; Lanno et al. 2004). These organisms ingest large amounts of soil, or specific fractions of soil (i.e., organic matter), thereby being continuously exposed to contaminants through their alimentary surfaces (Morgan et al. 2004). Moreover, several studies have shown that earthworm skin is a significant route of contaminant uptake as well (Saxe et al. 2001; Jager et al. 2003;Vijver et al. 2005).


AChE Activity Ecological Risk Assessment Earthworm Species Environ Toxicol Cocoon Production 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. Sanchez-Hernandez
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of EcotoxicologyUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaToledoSpain

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