Effects of Earthworms on the Availability and Removal of Heavy Metals in Soil

  • Ayten KaracaEmail author
  • Ridvan Kizilkaya
  • Oguz Can Turgay
  • Sema Camci Cetin
Part of the Soil Biology book series (SOILBIOL, volume 19)


Earthworms originally evolved in aquatic ecosystems and began to colonize terrestrial ecosystems 600 million years ago. Over the past few decades, research into earthworms has revealed that they stimulate the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil and hence enhance soil fertility. Recent works have revealed that earthworms are able to direct the fates of heavy metals by passing and accumulating toxic metals through and in their body tissues, and that this distinctive phenomenon is influenced by various factors.

This chapter considers the role of earthworms in the accumulation, availability, and uptake of heavy metals in soil. In particular, it is known that the functions and capabilities of earthworms in various soil ecosystems are closely linked to their biological characteristics and habitats, so this review places special emphasis on these factors.


Heavy Metal Metal Accumulation Earthworm Species Endogeic Species Earthworm Activity 
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-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayten Karaca
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ridvan Kizilkaya
    • 2
  • Oguz Can Turgay
    • 1
  • Sema Camci Cetin
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Soil Science DiskapiAnkara UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Soil ScienceOndokuzmayis UniversitySamsunTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Soil ScienceGaziosmanpasa UniversityTokatTurkey

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