Effects, uptake, and fate of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene aged in soil in plants and worms.

Research paper by Elly P H EP Best, Henry E HE Tatem, Kaaren N KN Geter, Melissa L ML Wells, Brian K BK Lane

Indexed on: 16 Jul '08Published on: 16 Jul '08Published in: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry


The present study was aimed at providing data to be used at predicting exposure-based effects of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) aged in soil on endpoint organisms representing two trophic levels. These data can be used to define criteria or reference values for environmental management and conducting specific risk assessment. Long-term exposure tests were conducted to evaluate sublethal toxicity and uptake of aged soil-based explosives, with TNT as the main contaminant. In these tests, plants were exposed for 55 d, and biomass and explosives residues were determined. Worms were exposed for 28 and 42 d, and biomass, number, and tissue residues were determined. Biomass of Lolium perenne significantly decreased with soil-TNT concentration, and an effective concentration causing a 20% decrease in biomass (EC20) for TNT metabolites of 3.75 mg/kg was calculated. The concentrations of TNT metabolites in shoots and roots were significantly related to concentrations in soil, as were concentrations of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5 triazine (RDX) and octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX). The mean bioconcentration factors, indicating the potential of a chemical to accumulate in an organism, were 0.9 for TNT metabolites, 71.8 for RDX, and 12.2 for HMX in L. perenne shoots. Biomass of Eisenia fetida adults significantly decreased with soil-TNT concentration, and an EC20 for TNT of 3.70 mg/kg was calculated. The TNT, RDX, and HMX levels in E. fetida were below detection.