Evaluating Earthworms’ Potential for Remediating Soils Contaminated with Olive Mill Waste Sediments
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Author/sSanchez Hernandez, Juan C.; Sáez, José A.; Vico, Alberto; Moreno Casco, José Joaquín; Moral, Raúl
The olive-oil industry generates large amounts of residues that, in the past, were accumulated in evaporating ponds in many Mediterranean countries. Currently, these open-air ponds pose a serious environmental hazard because of toxic chemicals that concentrate in their sediments. Bioremediation of olive mill waste (OMW) sediments has emerged as a viable option for managing this environmentally problematic residue. Here, we postulate that inoculation of an OMW-soil mixture with earthworms may be a complementary bioremediation strategy to that using native microorganisms only. A laboratory study assessed the ecotoxicity of OMW-amended soils (10%, 20%, 40% and 80% w/w) combining earthworm biomarker responses and soil enzyme activities. The doses of 40% and 80% were toxic to earthworms, as evidenced by the high mortality rate, loss of body weight and signs of oxidative stress after 30 d of soil incubation. Conversely, doses ≤ 20% w/w were compatible with earthworm activity, as indicated by...