John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Effect of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE‐209) on a soil‐biota system: Role of earthworms and ryegrass

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In the present study, the toxic effect of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE‐209), an important brominated fire retardant, on soil was evaluated by amending with different concentrations (0, 1, 10 and 500 mg/kg dry weight) for 40 d. The activities of three soil enzymes (urease, catalase and alkaline phosphatase) were measured as the principal assessment endpoints. Meanwhile, the effects of natural environmental factors, such as light conditions and soil biota, on BDE‐209 intoxication were studied. For the latter, 30 earthworms (Metaphire guillelmi) with fully‐matured clitella or ryegrass (Lolium perenne) with fully‐matured leaves were exposed in soil amended with BDE‐209. The activities of soil enzymes were adversely affected by BDE‐209, especially for high‐concentration treatments, with greater adverse effects in the dark than in the light. The presence of earthworms reduced toxicity to BDE‐209, whereas ryegrass did not. The calculated integrated biomarker response index, which provides a general indicator of the “health status” of test species by combining different biomarker signals, further validated these findings. Moreover, the antioxidant status (oxidant‐antioxidant balance) of these two biota was assessed. Results of this assessment indicated that BDE‐209 significantly affected the activities of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase and catalase) and enhanced the levels of malondialdehyde in both species. The present study may facilitate a better understanding of the toxicity of BDE‐209 toward the real soil environment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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