Acta Scientific Veterinary Sciences (ISSN: 2582-3183)

Research Article Volume 3 Issue 9

Heavy Metals Toxicity on Various Growth Parameters and Biomolecules of Earthworm, Eisenia fetida

Shweta Sharma*, Mahima, Anshu, RK Gupta and Dharambir Singh

Department of Zoology, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, India

*Corresponding Author: Shweta Sharma, Department of Zoology, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, India.

Received: July 27, 2021; Published: August 18, 2021


Earthworms are very sensitive bio-indicators of soil pollution. The aim of present investigation was to study the effects of heavy metals toxicity on various growth parameters of earthworms and also on their bio-molecules (carbohydrates, proteins, lipids) which are involved in several processes such as energy storage (carbohydrates), catalyzing biochemical reactions etc. Adult individuals of Eisenia fetida were collected and kept in the green house. After acclimatization they were transferred either to unpolluted slurry (treated as control) or to the heavy metals’ polluted (Cu, Sn, Cu+Sn) slurry. They were kept in these treatments at 22±2°C, RH 35% for 90 days. More cocoons and juveniles appeared in unpolluted slurry as compared to polluted one. The bio-molecules of worms maintained in unpolluted slurry were unaffected whereas heavy metals’ polluted worms showed reduction in bio-molecules (%). In contrast, in the Cu polluted slurry samples, high mortality of adults was recorded, body weight and length was reduced, reproduction completely inhibited and bio-molecules also reduced (%).

Keywords: Acclimatization; Carbohydrates; Cocoons; Eisenia fetida; Lipids; Proteins


  1. Avila G G., et al. “Organic matter reduces copper toxicity for the earthworm Eisenia fetida in soils from mining areas in central Chile”. Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research 69 (2009): 252-259.
  2. Berthelot Y., et al. “Integration of toxicological and chemical tools to assess the bioavailability of metals and energetic compounds in contaminated soils”. Chemosphere 74 (2008): 166-177.
  3. Bilalis D., et al. “Effects of aluminum and moisture levels on aluminum bioaccumulation and protein content in the earthworm Octodrilus complanatus”. Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition4 (2013): 845-854.
  4. Burgos M G., et al. “Cu and Cd effects on the earthworm Lumbricus rubellus in the laboratory: multivariate statistical analysis of relationships between exposure, biomarkers, and ecologically relevant parameters”. Environmental Science and Technology6 (2005): 1757-1763.
  5. Bustos-Obregón E and Goicochea RI. “Pesticide soil contamination mainly affects earthworm male reproductive parameters”. Asian Journal of Andrology3 (2002): 195-199.
  6. Calisi A., et al. “Biomarker response in the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris exposed to chemical pollutants”. Science of the Total Environment20 (2011): 4456-4464.
  7. Christie NT and Costa M. “In vitro assessment of the toxicity of metal compounds. IV. Disposition of metals in cells: interactions with membranes, glutathione, metallothionein, and DNA”. Biological Trace Element Research 6 (1984): 139-158.
  8. Dezwaan A and Zandee DI. “The utilization of glycogen and accumulation of some intermediates during anaerobiasis in Mytilusedulis”. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 43 (1972): 47-54.
  9. Edwards P J and Coulson J M. “Choice of earthworm species for laboratory tests”. Ecotoxicology of Earthworms (1992): 36-43.
  10. Gastaldi L., et al. “Application of a biomarker battery for the evaluation of the sublethal effects of pollutants in the earthworm Eisenia Andrei”. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology and Pharmacology3 (2007): 398-405.
  11. Giner-Lamia J., et al. “Extracellular proteins: novel key components of metal resistance in cyanobacteria?”. Frontiers in Microbiology 7 (2016): 878.
  12. Goering P L and Fowler B A. “Regulatory roles of high‐affinity metal‐binding proteins in mediating lead effects on δ‐aminolevulinic acid dehydratase”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences1 (1987): 235-247.
  13. Hartenstein R., et al. “Accumulation of heavy metals in the earthworm Eisenia fetida”. Journal of Environmental Quality 9 (1980): 23-26.
  14. He M M., et al. “Phytotoxicity and speciation of copper, zinc and lead during the aerobic composting of sewage sludge”. Journal of Hazardous Materials2-3 (2009): 671-677.
  15. Helling B., et al. “Effects of the fungicide copper oxychloride on the growth and reproduction of Eisenia fetida (Oligochaeta)”. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 46 (2000): 108-116.
  16. Hertel-Aas T., et al. “Effects of different gamma exposure regimes on reproduction in the earthworm Eisenia fetida (Oligochaeta)”. Science of the Total Environment 412 (2011): 138-147.
  17. Homa J., et al. “Metal-specific effects on metallothionein gene induction and riboflavin content in coelomocytes of Allolobophora chlorotica”. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety8 (2010): 1937-1943.
  18. Jatwani C., et al. “Effects of Hg/Co toxicity in soil on biomolecules of earthworm, Eisenia fetida”. Procedia Environmental Sciences 35 (2016): 450-455.
  19. Kafilat Adebola B A., et al. “Integrated assessment of the heavy metal pollution status and potential ecological risk in the Lagos Lagoon, South West, Nigeria”. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal2 (2018): 377-397.
  20. Khalil M A., et al. “Effects of metals and metal mixtures on survival and cocoon production of the earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa”. Pedobiologia6 (1996): 548-556.
  21. Khan A., et al. “The uptake and bioaccumulation of heavy metals by food plants, their effects on plants nutrients, and associated health risk: a review”. Environmental Science and Pollution Research18 (2015): 13772-13799.
  22. Khandelwal A. “A Study on the impact of Pesticides and Herbicides on the Growth and Reproduction of Earthworm in Kota Region (Doctoral Thesis)” (2014).
  23. Kjeldahl J. “Neue Methode Zur Bestimmung Des Stickstoffs In Organischen Korpern (New Method For For The Determination Of Nitrogen In Organic Substances”. Zeitschriftfuranalytischechemie 1 (1883): 366-383.
  24. Klok C., et al. “The combined effects of pollutants and inundation stress on earthworm populations in river floodplains”. Environmental Pollution 147 (2007): 26-31.
  25. Lanno R., et al. “The bioavailability of chemicals in soil for earthworms”. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 57 (2004): 39-47.
  26. Liang S H., et al. “Cadmium-induced earthworm metallothionein-2 is associated with metal accumulation and counteracts oxidative stress”. Pedobiologia5-6 (2011): 333-340.
  27. Masuko T., et al. “Chitosan-RGDSGGC conjugate as a scaffold material for musculoskeletal tissue engineering”. Biomaterials26 (2005): 5339-5347.
  28. Muni P. “Study of reduced glutathione and catalase activity in earthworms influenced by natural pollutants (Doctoral dissertation)” (2014).
  29. E.C.D. Earthworm, Acute Toxicity Tests, in: OECD Guidelines for Testing of Chemicals, Organization for Economic Cooperation, Development, Paris, France (1984).
  30. Ogwuegbu MO and Ijioma M A. “Effects of certain heavy metals on the population due to mineral exploitation”. In international conference on scientific and environmental Issues In the population, environment and sustainable development in Nigeria, University of Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigerian (2003): 8-10.
  31. Ravera O. “Influence of heavy metals on the reproduction and embyonic embyonic development of fresh water Pulmonates (Gastropoda, Mollusca) and Cladocerans (Crustacea, Athropoda)”. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology- Part C 100 (1991): 215-219.
  32. Rodriguez-Castellanos L and Sanchez-Hernandez JC. “Earthworm biomarkers of pesticide contamination: current status and perspectives”. Journal of Pest Science 32 (2007): 360-371.
  33. Saint-Denis M., et al. “Biochemical responses of the earthworm Eisenia fetida andrei exposed to contaminated artificial soil: effects of benzo (a) pyrene”. Soil Biology and Biochemistry13 (1999): 1837-1846.
  34. Sanchez-Hernandez JC. “Earthworm biomarkers in ecological risk assessment”. Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 188 (2006): 85-126.
  35. Savard K., et al. “Effects of HMX-lead mixtures onreproduction of the earthworm Eisenia Andrei”. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 53 (2007): 351-358.
  36. Soxhlet F. “Die gewichtsanalytische bestimmung des milchfettes”. Polytechnisches Journal 232 (1879): 461-465.
  37. Spurgeon D J., et al. “Effects of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc on growth, reproduction and survival of the earthworm Eisenia fetida (Savigny): assessing the environmental impact of point-source metal contamination in terrestrial ecosystems”. Environmental Pollution 84 (1994): 123-130.
  38. Spurgeon DJ and Hopkin SP. “Comparisons of metal accumulation and excretion kinetics in earthworms (Eisenia fetida) exposed to contaminated field and laboratory soils”. Applied Soil Ecology2-3 (1999): 227-243.
  39. Spurgeon DJ., et al. “A summary of eleven years progress in earthworm ecotoxicology: the 7th international symposium on earthworm ecology· Cardiff· Wales· 2002”. Pedobiologia 5-6 (2003): 588-606.
  40. Spurgeon DJ and Hopkin SP. “Effects of variation of organic matter content and pH of soils on the availability and toxicity of zinc to the earthworm Eisenia fetida”. Pedobiologia 40 (1996): 80-96.
  41. Spurgeon DJ., et al. “Toxicological, cellular and gene expression responses in earthworms exposed to copper and cadmium”. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part C: Comparative Pharmacology 138 (2004a): 11-21.
  42. Spurgeon DJ., et al. “Responses of earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) to copper and cadmium as determined by measurement of juvenile traits in a specifically designed test system”. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 57 (2004b): 54-64.
  43. Ukpabi CF., et al. “Fertilizer application effect on heavy metal composition and biochemical responses of earthworm Eisenia fetida in a Sandy Farm Soil”. American Journal of Biochemistry13 (2013): 74-79.
  44. Umminger BL. “Physiologiacal studies on super cooled fish Fundulushetroclitus. Carbohydrate metabolism and survival @ sub zero temperature”. Journal of Experimental Zoology 17 (1970): 159-174.
  45. Van Gestel C A M., et al. “Accumulation and elimination of cadmium, chromium and zinc and eff ects on growth and reproduction in Eisenia andrei (Oligochaeta, Annelida)”. The Science of the Total Environment 38 (1993): 585-597.
  46. Van Gestel C A M., et al. “Comparison of sublethal and lethal criteria for nine different chemicals in standardized toxicity tests using the earthworm Eisenia Andrei”. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 23 (1992): 206-220.
  47. Van Gestel C A M and Van Dis W A. “The influence of soil characteristics on the toxicity of four chemicals to the earthworm Eisenia fetida andrei (Oligochaeta)”. Biology and Fertility of Soils3 (1988): 262-265.
  48. Van Gestel CA., et al. “Effects of metal pollution on earthworm communities in a contaminated floodplain area: linking biomarker, community and functional responses”. Environmental Pollution 157 (2009): 895-903.
  49. Van Gestel CAM., et al. “Influence of cadmium, copper, and pentachlorophenol on growth and sexual development of Eisenia andrei (Oligochaeta; Annelida)”. Biology and Fertility of Soils 12 (1991): 117-121.
  50. Van Rhee JA. “Copper contamination effects on earth- worms by disposal of pig waste in pastures”. In: J. Vanek (Editor), Progress in Soil Zoology. Proc. 5th. Int. Colloquium on Soil Zoology, Prague, J.W. Junk, The Hague (1975): 451-457.
  51. Wang C., et al. “Application of synthetic principal component analysis model to mine area farmland heavy metal pollution assessment”. Journal of Coal Science and Engineering, China 14 (2008): 109-113.
  52. Yadav J., et al. “Heavy metals toxicity on growth and reproduction of Eisenia fetida”. Research in Environment and Life Sciences 6 (2017): 565-568.
  53. Zaltauskaite J and Sodiene I. “Effects of total cadmium and lead concentrations in soil on the growth, reproduction and survival of earthworm Eisenia fetida”. Ekologija 56 (2010): 10-16.
  54. Zhang J., et al. “Responses of earthworm to aluminum toxicity in latosol”. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 20 (2013): 1135-1141.
  55. Zhou C F., et al. “Does glyphosate impact on Cu uptake by, and toxicity to, the earthworm Eisenia fetida?”. Ecotoxicology8 (2012): 2297-2305.


Citation: Shweta Sharma., et al. “Heavy Metals Toxicity on Various Growth Parameters and Biomolecules of Earthworm, Eisenia fetida". Acta Scientific Veterinary Sciences 3.9 (2021): 18-26.


Copyright: © 2021 Shweta Sharma., et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Acceptance rate35%
Acceptance to publication20-30 days
Impact Factor0.777

Indexed In

News and Events

  • Certification for Review
    Acta Scientific certifies the Editors/reviewers for their review done towards the assigned articles of the respective journals.
  • Submission Timeline for Upcoming Issue
    The last date for submission of articles for regular Issues is December 15, 2021.
  • Publication Certificate
    Authors will be issued a "Publication Certificate" as a mark of appreciation for publishing their work.
  • Best Article of the Issue
    The Editors will elect one Best Article after each issue release. The authors of this article will be provided with a certificate of “Best Article of the Issue”.
  • Welcoming Article Submission
    Acta Scientific delightfully welcomes active researchers for submission of articles towards the upcoming issue of respective journals.
  • Contact US