Histopathology alterations and lipid peroxidation as biomarkers of hydrocarbon-induced stress in earthworm, Eudrilus eugeniae

Environ Monit Assess. 2013 Mar;185(3):2189-96. doi: 10.1007/s10661-012-2700-3. Epub 2012 Jun 13.


This study investigated the biomarker responses of the earthworm, Eudrilus eugeniae, exposed to sublethal concentrations of benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) for a time span of 28 days. Lipid peroxidation (LPO) and histopathological alterations were examined. Toxicological evaluations of BTX were carried out against E. eugeniae. On the basis of the 96-h LC(50) value, xylene (1.212 mg/kg) was found to be the most toxic followed by toluene (1.335 mg/kg) and benzene (1.896 mg/kg) was the least toxic. The exposure of earthworms to sublethal concentrations (1/10th and 1/100th of 96 h LC(50)) of BTX premixed with the substrate (loamy and humus soil) induced pathological changes in the clitella such as severe lesion, necrosis and dark brown pigments. The result of the lipid peroxidation assay showed a significant increase in oxidative damage with LPO values ranging from 2.58-7.8 nM/g in exposed animals when compared to 0.07 nM/g in the control group. The findings from this study suggest the use of LPO and histopathology as useful biomarkers of exposure for early detection of petroleum related stress in terrestrial ecosystems.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzene / toxicity
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Hydrocarbons / toxicity*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Oligochaeta*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Soil Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Toluene / toxicity
  • Xylenes / toxicity


  • Biomarkers
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Xylenes
  • Toluene
  • Benzene