Centrum Ecosystemen - Molecular Ecology Ecotoxicology and Wildlife Management, Centrum Landschap - Ecologische Modellen en Monitoring, Sectie Toxicologie
Effects of C60 nanoparticles (nominal concentrations 0, 15.4 and 154 mg/kg soil) on mortality, growth and reproduction of Lumbricus rubellus earthworms were assessed. C60 exposure had a significant effect on cocoon production, juvenile growth rate and mortality. These endpoints were used to model effects on the population level. This demonstrated reduced population growth rate with increasing C60 concentrations. Furthermore, a shift in stage structure was shown for C60 exposed populations, i.e. a larger proportion of juveniles. This result implies that the lower juvenile growth rate due to exposure to C60 resulted in a larger proportion of juveniles, despite increased mortality among juveniles. Overall, this study indicates that C60 exposure may seriously affect earthworm populations. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that juveniles were more sensitive to C60 exposure than adults. C60 nanoparticle exposure can affect Lumbricus rubellus populations.