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Evaluation of surrogate measures of cadmium, lead, and zinc bioavailability to Eisenia fetida

Conder, J.M. and R.P. Lanno . 2000. Chemosphere 41:1659-1668


We evaluated weak-electrolyte (0.1M Ca(NO3)2) soil extractions and ion-exchange membranes coated with a metal chelator as measures of Cd, Pb, and Zn bioavailability in spiked artificial soil by comparing their metal availability estimates to acute lethal toxicity in the earthworm Eisenia fetida. Ca(NO3)2 extractions were precisely related to toxicity in all toxicity tests, and enabled the development of time-independent LC50S (incipient lethal-levels, ILLs) calculated using exposure levels based on extraction data. ILLs with 95% CIs for the CD, Pb, and Zn toxicity tests were 9.8 (9.4-10.3), 1.16 (1.11-1.22), and 6.33 (6.18-6.49) Ca(NO3)2-extractable mmol metal/kg soil, respectively. Mixture toxicity of Cd, Pb, and Zn, assessed using the toxic unit (TU) approach, was 1.35 TU, suggesting additivity. Chelating ion-exchange membrane uptake was variable, and not well related to toxicity. Weak-electrolyte extractions show promise as precise, inexpensive surrogate measures of Cd, Pb, and Zn bioavailability in soil.

Key Words

Soil, metals, bioavailability, earthworm, ion-exchange membranes