Converting wasteland into wonderland by earthworms - a low-cost nature's technology for soil remediation: a case study of vermiremediation of PAHs contaminated soil
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Earthworms in general are tolerant to many chemical contaminants including heavy metals and organic pollutants in soil and can bio-accumulate them in their tissues. Earthworms species like Eisenia fetida, Eisenia tetraedra, Lumbricus terrestris, Lumbricus rubellus and Allobophora chlorotica have been found to remove heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Cu, Hg, etc.) pesticides and lipophilic organic micropollutants like the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from the soil. They 'absorb' the dissolved chemicals through the moist 'body wall' in the interstitial water and also 'ingest' by mouth while the soil passes through the gut. They either 'bio-transform' or 'biodegrade' the chemical contaminants rendering them harmless in their bodies. Meanwhile the quality of the soil is improved significantly in terms of physical, chemical and biological properties as the worms thoroughly upturn and disperse the soil, ingest large volumes of soil and excrete nutritive materials (NKP and micronutrients) in the form of 'vermicasts' along with millions of beneficial soil microbes including nitrogen fixers.
The environmentalist: the international journal for all environmental professionals
© 2008 Springer Netherlands. This is an electronic version of an article published in The Environmentalist, Volume 28, Number 4, 466-475. The Environmentalist is available online at: http://www.springerlink.com/ with the open URL of your article.