Lead concentrations in soil organisms are usually well below those in the associated soil and tend to decrease with each higher trophic level in a food chain. Earthworms of the species Eisenoides lonnbergi provide an exception to this observation, accumulating very high concentrations of lead from acidic soils. Earthworms belonging to this species were collected from strongly to extremely acidic soils at 16 sites on a wildlife refuge in Maryland, USA. A lead concentration as high as 766 mg/kg, dry weight, was detected in depurated E. lonnbergi collected from soil containing only 17 mg/kg of lead. Concentration factors (ratio of lead concentration in earthworms to lead concentration in soil, dry wt) were highly variable at the sites, from 1.0 to 83. As suggested previously, lead absorption by earthworms is enhanced in low-calcium soils. The anomalously high concentrations of lead found in E. lonnbergi are more closely correlated with the uptake of calcium from acidic soils than with bioaccessibility of soil lead.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Anomalous bioaccumulation of lead in the earthworm Eisenoides lonnbergi (Michaelsen)|
|Series title||Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry|
|Publisher||Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry|
|Contributing office(s)||Patuxent Wildlife Research Center|