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Role of earthworms against metal contamination: a review

Review Paper | January 1, 2015

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Zeba Usmani, Vipin Kumar

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.6( 1), 414-427, January 2015


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Heavy metal contamination, occurring due to both natural and anthropogenic activities, is a subject of major concern throughout the globe. Increase in heavy metal content can have an adverse impact on functioning of the soil ecosystem by hampering the activities of soil fauna. Earthworms play an important role in metal pollution monitoring and are widely recognized in terrestrial ecosystems. They have an inherent potential for bioaccumulation of metals in their chloragogenous tissues and can be used as an ecological indicator of soil contamination. The present review is focused on: biology and ecology of earthworms, their role as ecosystem engineers and the mechanism involved in uptake, accumulation and excretion of metals by different species of earthworm under varieties of soil. A brief discussion about kinetics of metal accumulation was also laid importance. The review brings these studies together in order to highlight the ability of earthworms to affect metal mobility and its availability in various contaminated sites and elaborates the potential of various species of earthworm to remediate metal dominant substrates.


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Role of earthworms against metal contamination: a review

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