Toxicity of phenmedipham and carbendazim to Enchytraeus crypticus and Eisenia andrei (Oligochaeta) in Mediterranean soils

Sonia Chelinho, Xavier Domene, Paolo Campana, Pilar Andrés, Jörg Römbke, José Paulo Sousa

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The main objective of the present study was to evaluate the toxicity of two reference chemicals, Carbendazim and Phenmedipham, for the compostworm Eisenia andrei (effects of Carbendazim) and the potworm Enchytraeus crypticus (effects of Phenmedipham) in 12 Mediterranean soils with contrasting soil properties. The observed toxicity was also compared to that obtained for OECD standard soil, used as a control. Materials and methods: The soils were selected to be representative for the Mediterranean region and to cover a broad range of soil properties. The evaluated endpoints were avoidance behavior and reproduction. Soils were also assembled in two groups according to their pedological properties. Results and discussion: Toxicity benchmarks (AC50s) obtained for E. andrei avoidance behavior in carbendazim-contaminated soils were generally higher for sandy soils with low pH. The toxic effects on the reproduction of the compostworms were similar in the six tested soils, indicating a low influence of soil properties. The avoidance response of E. crypticus towards Phenmedipham was generally highly variable in all tested soils. Even though, a higher toxicity was observed for more acidic soils. The EC50s for reproduction of the latter species varied by a factor of 9 and Phenmedipham toxicity also tended to be increasing in soils with lower pH, except for the soils with extreme organic matter content (0.6 and 5.8%). Conclusions: A soil effect on chemical toxicity was clearly confirmed, highlighting the influence that test soils can have in site-specific ecological risk assessment. Despite some relationships between soil properties and toxicity were outlined, a clear and statistically significant prediction of chemical toxicity could not be established. The range of soil properties was probably narrow to give clearer and more consistent insights on their influence. For the four groups of tests, the toxicity observed for OECD soil was either similar, lower, or generally higher if compared with Mediterranean soils. Moreover, it did represent neither the organic matter content found in Mediterranean soils nor their textural classes. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-599
JournalJournal of Soils and Sediments
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Carbendazim
  • Compost worms
  • Phenmedipham
  • Potworms avoidance test
  • Reproduction test
  • Soil properties


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