Toxicity to Eisenia andrei and Folsomia candida of a metal mixture applied to soil directly or via an organic matrix.
Regulatory limits for chemicals and ecological risk assessment are usually based on the effects of single compounds, not taking into account mixture effects. The ecotoxicity of metal-contaminated sludge may, however, not only be due to its metal content. Both the sludge matrix and the presence of other toxicants may mitigate or promote metal toxicity. To test this assumption, the toxicity of soils recently amended with an industrial sludge predominantly contaminated with chromium, copper, nickel, and zinc and soils freshly spiked with the same mixture of metals was evaluated through earthworm (Eisenia andrei) and collembolan (Folsomia candida) reproduction tests. The sludge was less toxic than the spiked metal mixture for E. andrei but more toxic for F. candida. Results obtained for the earthworms suggest a decrease in metal bioavailability promoted by the high organic matter content of the sludge. The higher toxicity of the sludge for F. candida was probably due to the additive toxic effect of other pollutants.
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