TNT, RDX, and HMX decrease earthworm (Eisenia andrei) life-cycle responses in a spiked natural forest soil.

Research paper by P Y PY Robidoux, J J Hawari, G G Bardai, L L Paquet, G G Ampleman, S S Thiboutot, G I GI Sunahara

Indexed on: 26 Oct '02Published on: 26 Oct '02Published in: Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology


Sublethal and chronic toxicities of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazacyclohexane (RDX), and octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) on earthworm Eisenia andrei in a sandy forest soil were assessed. Various reproduction parameters of fecundity (total and hatched number of cocoons, number of juveniles, and their biomass) were significantly decreased by TNT (> or = 58.8 +/- 5.1 mg/kg dry soil), RDX (> or = 46.7 +/- 2.6 mg/kg), and HMX (> or = 15.6 +/- 4.6 mg/kg). These effects occurred at much lower concentrations than those reported earlier using artificial soil preparations. Growth of adults was significantly decreased in the TNT-spiked natural soils at 136.2 +/- 25.6 mg/kg dry soil, the highest concentration having no significant mortality. In contrast, survival and growth were not significantly reduced at relatively high measured concentrations of RDX (167.3 mg/kg) and HMX (711.0 mg/kg). Although TNT, RDX, and HMX share a common life-cycle response ( i.e., decreased juvenile counts), a number of differences related to other reproduction parameters (e.g., productivity of cocoons) was observed. These results indicate that the tested explosives do not support a common mechanism of toxicity, at least in the earthworm, probably due to differences in their physical-chemical properties as well as metabolites formed during exposure.