Accumulation of heavy metals in soil: sources, toxicity, health impacts, and remediation by earthworms

  • Nishat Fatima Vermibiotechnology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, D.D.U. Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur, 273009, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Keshav Singh Vermibiotechnology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, D.D.U. Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur, 273009, Uttar Pradesh, India
Keywords: Bioaccumulation, Detoxification, Earthworms, Heavy metals, Toxicity, Vermiremediation, Vermibiotechnology


Heavy metals pose serious threats to both individuals and the environment, and there is growing global concern over potentially harmful elements. Heavy metal contamination can have a significant impact on the soil ecosystem's functioning. This requires convenient, efficient, and beneficial remediation approaches. The “ecosystem engineer”, earthworms, can modify and enhance soil quality. The ability of earthworms to bioaccumulate metals in substantial amounts in their tissues makes them potentially beneficial as an ecological indicator of soil pollution. Vermiremediation is a new discipline of research in which earthworms are used to detoxify organically contaminated soils. Earthworms have an influential metabolic system, and their gut bacteria and chloragocyte cells play a significant role in their tendency to valorize and detoxify heavy metals. Remediation by earthworms can be considered sustainable, efficient, and ecologically beneficial. The present review provides a wide range of information on earthworms' appropriateness as prospective species for bioremediation and detoxification of toxic metal-contaminated soil to mitigate human health and environmental problems.



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How to Cite
Fatima, N.; Singh, K. Accumulation of Heavy Metals in Soil: Sources, Toxicity, Health Impacts, and Remediation by Earthworms. European Journal of Biological Research 2023, 13, 129-143.
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