Ecotoxicological Effects of Nanomaterials on Earthworms: A Review
The concern regarding the ecotoxicological effects of nanomaterials in the terrestrial environment is increasing. Against this background, several studies have investigated the effects of different nanomaterials on various earthworm species. Since the earthworm is a representative invertebrate present in soil and occupies an important trophic level, many studies have focused on earthworms. Understanding how and why nanoparticles are toxic to organisms is important to nanotoxicologists and ecotoxicologists. We have collated information from studies on the toxicity of metal- and carbon-based nanomaterials to earthworms in the soil matrix, and trends in the adverse effects of nanomaterials on earthworms were analyzed. Most studies showed that the survival and growth of adult earthworms are negligibly affected by nanomaterials in the soil. However, many studies reported that nanomaterials may result in a reduction in the reproductive activity. This study presents an intensive overall view of the ecotoxicological impact of nanomaterials on earthworms at the organism, cellular, and molecular levels.