Bioaccumulation and biological effects in the earthworm Eisenia fetida exposed to natural and depleted uranium

Anna Giovanetti, Sergey Fesenko, Maria L. Cozzella, Lisbet D. Asencio, Umberto Sansone

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The accumulations of both natural (U) and depleted (DU) uranium in the earthworms (Eisenia fetida) were studied to evaluate corresponding biological effects. Concentrations of metals in the experimental soil ranged from 1.86 to 600mgkg-1. Five biological endpoints: mortality, animals' weight increasing, lysosomal membrane stability by measuring the neutral red retention time (the NRRT), histological changes and genetic effects (Comet assay) were used to evaluate biological effects in the earthworms after 7 and 28 days of exposure. No effects have been observed in terms of mortality or weight reduction. Cytotoxic and genetic effects were identified at quite low U concentrations. For some of these endpoints, in particular for genetic effects, the dose (U concentration)-effect relationships have been found to be non-linear. The results have also shown a statistically significant higher level of impact on the earthworms exposed to natural U compared to depleted U. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509 - 516
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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