In situ bioassay with Eisenia andrei to assess soil toxicity in an abandoned uranium mine

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2008 Nov;71(3):620-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2008.02.007. Epub 2008 Apr 7.


The goal of this study was to develop an in situ bioassay with Eisenia andrei, deploying it in several locations of an abandoned mining area. Our objectives were two-fold: (i) we intended to validate the in situ soil bioassay procedures, while (ii) providing ecologically relevant data to complement the ongoing risk evaluation based on laboratorial assays. To promote cost- and time-effectiveness, the in situ exposure was short (48 h) and the endpoints analysed included oxidative stress biomarkers and metal content in soil and organisms. The bioassay was carried out under different experimental conditions, simulating local (natural soil) vs. control conditions (LUFA soil), and irrigation with artificial rainwater vs. irrigation with diluted acidic effluent. Variation in the data was mostly due to soil type, rather than irrigation water, and substantial spatial heterogeneity was observed. Oxidative stress biomarkers did not fully work as sensitive parameters to environmental contamination. Earthworm metal burdens suggested a potential concern in terms of bioaccumulation of some metallic elements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Body Burden
  • Ecology
  • Extraction and Processing Industry
  • Mining
  • Oligochaeta / drug effects*
  • Oligochaeta / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Soil / chemistry
  • Soil Pollutants, Radioactive / analysis
  • Soil Pollutants, Radioactive / metabolism
  • Soil Pollutants, Radioactive / toxicity*
  • Uranium / analysis
  • Uranium / metabolism
  • Uranium / toxicity*


  • Biomarkers
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants, Radioactive
  • Uranium