Bioavailability and chronic toxicity of bismuth citrate to earthworm Eisenia andrei exposed to natural sandy soil
Abstract The present study describes bioavailability and chronic effects of bismuth to earthworms Eisenia andrei using OECD reproduction test. Adult earthworms were exposed to natural sandy soil contaminated artificially by bismuth citrate. Average total concentrations of bismuth in soil recovered by HNO 3 digestion ranged from 75 to 289mg/kg. Results indicate that bismuth decreased significantly all reproduction parameters of Eisenia andrei at concentrations ≥ 116mg/kg. However, number of hatched cocoons and number of juveniles seem to be more sensitive than total number of cocoons, as determined by IC 50 ; i.e., 182, 123 and > 289mg/kg, respectively. Bismuth did not affect Eisenia andrei growth and survival, and had little effect on phagocytic efficiency of coelomocytes. The low immunotoxicity effect might be explained by the involvement of other mechanisms i.e. bismuth sequestered by metal-binding compounds. After 28 days of exposure bismuth concentrations in earthworms tissue increased with increasing bismuth concentrations in soil reaching a stationary state of 21.37mg/kg dry tissue for 243mg Bi/kg dry soil total content. Data indicate also that after 56 days of incubation the average fractions of bismuth available extracted by KNO 3 aqueous solution in soil without earthworms varied from 0.0051 to 0.0229mg/kg, while in soil with earthworms bismuth concentration ranged between 0.310–1.347mg/kg dry soil. We presume that mucus and chelating agents produced by earthworms and by soil or/and earthworm gut microorganisms could explain this enhancement, as well as the role of dermal and ingestion routes of earthworms uptake to soil contaminant. Highlights Bismuth citrate decreased various reproduction endpoints in Eisenia andrei. Reproduction endpoints in earthworm were more sensitive to Bi exposure than growth. Coelomocyte phagocytic activity was less affected by Bi presence in soil. Bismuth bioavailability in soil was enhanced by the presence of Eisenia andrei. High Bi concentrations were found in Eisenia andrei tissues.
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