Earthworm assisted bioremediation of organic contaminants

Zachary A. Hickman, Brian J. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Citations (Scopus)


Due to their biological, chemical and physical actions, earthworms can be directly employed within bioremediation strategies to promote biodegradation of organic contaminants. Earthworms have been shown to aerate and bioturbate soils and improve their nutritional status and fertility, which are variables known to limit bioremediation. Earthworms have also been shown to retard the binding of organic contaminants to soils, release previously soil-bound contaminants for subsequent degradation, and promote and disperse organic contaminant degrading microorganisms. This review discusses these earthworm actions upon the soil environment and how they might influence the fate and behaviour of soil associated organic contaminants, subsequently improving bioremediation potential. The latter part of this review considers organic compounds in the following order: agrochemicals, petroleum and crude oil hydrocarbons, PAHs and PCBs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1072-1081
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironment International
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

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