Earthworms, pesticides and sustainable agriculture: a review

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2016 May;23(9):8227-43. doi: 10.1007/s11356-016-6375-0. Epub 2016 Mar 7.


The aim of this review is to generate awareness and understand the importance of earthworms in sustainable agriculture and effect of pesticides on their action. The natural resources are finite and highly prone to degradation by the misuse of land and mismanagement of soil. The world is in utter need of a healthy ecosystem that provides with fertile soil, clean water, food and other natural resources. Anthropogenic activities have led to an increased contamination of land. The intensification of industrial and agricultural practices chiefly the utilization of pesticides has in almost every way made our natural resources concave. Earthworms help in a number of tasks that support many ecosystem services that favor agrosystem sustainability but are degraded by exhaustive practices such as the use of pesticides. The present review assesses the response of earthworm toward the pesticides and also evaluates the relationship between earthworm activity and plant growth. We strictly need to refresh and rethink on the policies and norms devised by us on sustainable ecology. In an equivalent way, the natural resources should be utilized and further, essential ways for betterment of present and future livelihood should be sought.

Keywords: Bioremediation; Earthworms; Pesticides; Sustainable agriculture; Vermicompost.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Animals
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystem
  • Oligochaeta / physiology*
  • Pesticides*
  • Soil


  • Pesticides
  • Soil