Earthworms are considered convenient indicators of land use and soil fertility. Recently the use of biomarkers in earthworms has been increasingly investigated. The aim of this work was to study possible pollutant-induced morphometric alterations in Eisenia foetida granulocytes in view of future applications as a sensitive, simple, and quick biomarker for soil monitoring and assessment applications. Results showed consistent enlargement of earthworm granulocytes induced by exposure to either copper sulfate or methiocarb. The increase of cellular size was time-dependent and was about 100% after 14 days of exposure for both treatments. In order to verify the applicability of morphometric granulocyte alteration, a battery of standardized biomarkers such as lysosomal membrane stability, metallothionein induction, or acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition were also determined. We recommend the use of morphometric alterations of granulocytes as a suitable biomarker of pollutant effect to be included in a multibiomarker strategy including responses at different levels of biological organization.
CALISI, ANTONIO;LIONETTO, Maria Giulia
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