The Relationship Between Heavy Metals and Earthworms

Over the last few decades, various human agricultural activities (i.e., intensive use of chemical fertilizers and sewage sludges; Karaca et al. 2002; Kizilkaya and Bayrakli 2005) as well as industrialization (Cemek and Kizilkaya 2006) have resulted in increased levels of heavy metals in many soils, although heavy metals can also occur lithogenically in unpolluted soils (Özdemir et al. 2007; Tarakcioglu et al. 2006). In most cases, these heavy metals are natural components of the Earth's crust (Özdemir et al. 2007; Tarakcioglu et al. 2006). Whether they have anthropogenic or lithogenic origins, heavy metals can accumulate in the food chain and can be accumulated by soil organisms, thus affecting their biological and biochemical activities, which leads to many environmental problems (Kizilkaya and Askin 2002; Kizilkaya et al. 2004). Since they are a major representative of soil life, earthworms are also negatively influenced by heavy metals, but in contrast to most other members of the soil fauna and flora, they can also influence heavy metal concentrations and their availability in the soil (Kizilkaya 2004, 2005). The relationship between heavy metals and earthworms involves two main processes: (1) the accumulation of metals by earthworms (the uptake of heavy metals included in organic compounds consumed by earthworms), and (2) the effects of earthworm activities on metal availability (changes in the fates of heavy metals due to the impact of the activities of earthworms on the physicochemical and biological characteristics of soil).

Growing Soilless

Growing Soilless

This is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to growing organic, healthy vegetable, herbs and house plants without soil. Clearly illustrated with black and white line drawings, the book covers every aspect of home hydroponic gardening.

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