Heavy metal concentrations in soil and earthworms in a floodplain grassland

P.C.J. van Vliet, S.E.A.T.M. van der Zee, W.C. Ma

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45 Citations (Scopus)


We determined accumulated heavy metal concentrations (Cd, Pb, Cu, Zn) of earthworms in moderately contaminated floodplain soils. Both soil and mature earthworms were sampled before and after flooding and earthworm species were identified to understand species specific differences in bioconcentration. Accumulated metal concentrations in floodplain earthworms differed before and after flooding. Differences in uptake and elimination mechanisms, in food choice and living habitat of the different earthworm species and changes in speciation of the heavy metals are possible causes for this observation. Regression equations taken from literature, that relate metal accumulation by earthworms in floodplains as a function of metal concentration in soil, performed well when all species specific data were combined in an average accumulation, but did not address differences in accumulation between earthworm species. The accumulation of metals by earthworms is species dependent and affected by flooding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-516
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • cadmium
  • copper
  • zinc
  • bioavailability
  • contamination
  • availability
  • terrestrial
  • systems
  • lead

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