John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Modeling cadmium and nickel toxicity to earthworms with the free ion approach

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The use of the Free Ion Approach (FIA) to quantify the toxic effects of Cd and Ni to the earthworms Lumbricus rubellus and Aporrectodea longa exposed in soils of different types was explored. Median lethal concentration (LC50) of Cd (expressed as the total concentration in soil) varied by approximately 11 and 28 fold for L. rubellus and A. longa, respectively. For Ni, these values were 50 and 38, respectively. For the 2 earthworm species, no significant influence of cations (H+, Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, and Na+) on Cd2+ toxicity was observed, while Mg2+ was found to significantly alleviate Ni2+ toxicity. The Free Ion Activity Model, which is a special case of the FIA with no impact of cations, sufficiently described the variability in Cd2+ toxicity across soils but failed in predicting Ni2+ toxicity. The FIA, in which the protective effects of Mg2+ were included, explained 89% and 84% of the variations in LC50{Ni2+} (expressed as free ion activity) for L. rubellus (logLC50{Ni2+} = 1.18log{Mg2+}‐0.52) and A. longa (logLC50{Ni2+} = 0.51log{Mg2+}‐2.16), respectively. Prediction error was within a factor of 2 for both Cd2+ and Ni2+ toxicity, indicating the applicability of the FIA for predicting toxicity of these two metals. Although extrapolation of the FIA across metals still needs more research efforts, this approach, as an alternative for the biotic ligand model, provides a feasible framework for site‐specific risk assessment. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2013 SETAC

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