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Research Journal of Environmental Sciences
  Year: 2015 | Volume: 9 | Issue: 2 | Page No.: 48-65
DOI: 10.3923/rjes.2015.48.65
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Earthworms: ‘The Unheralded Soldiers’ Standing Steadfast Against Metal Contamination

Zeba Usmani and Vipin Kumar

The increase in urbanization has led to an enhancement of pollution levels especially due to heavy metals which are a serious source of contamination throughout the world. Metals and metalloids are resultant of diffuse atmospheric fallouts of process particles. Contamination due to heavy metals can have a great impact on the functioning of soil ecosystem qualitatively and quantitatively by hampering the activities of soil fauna. Thus the importance of earthworms in metal pollution monitoring is widely recognized in terrestrial ecosystems. Earthworms have great potential for bioaccumulation of metals in their tissues and can be used as an ecological indicator of soil contamination. Species-specific metal accumulation pattern was observed in the study. In this review, the importance of earthworms as “ecosystem engineers” was portrayed through their different types of waste degrading abilities. The type of earthworm species, varieties of soil and different types of metals for which metal uptake and accumulation have been studied have been considered. A review of studies have been performed to assess the uptake of metals such as cadmium, copper, lead, zinc, etc by different species of earthworms. A detailed description of the mechanism involving the accumulation of earthworms were highlighted as per the studies done. A brief discussion of kinetics of metal accumulation was also laid importance. Thus the review brings these studies together in order to highlight the impact earthworms might have on metal mobility and availability in various contaminated sites.
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How to cite this article:

Zeba Usmani and Vipin Kumar, 2015. Earthworms: ‘The Unheralded Soldiers’ Standing Steadfast Against Metal Contamination. Research Journal of Environmental Sciences, 9: 48-65.

DOI: 10.3923/rjes.2015.48.65






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