Navigation Links
Earthworm detectives provide genetic clues for dealing with soil pollution
Date:6/2/2008

The humble earthworm, famously acknowledged by Charles Darwin when he wrote "It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world", provides a new sensitive and detailed picture of what is going on in our contaminated soil ecosystems. New research published in two BioMed Central journals shows that copper contamination has a detrimental effect by interfering with the energy metabolism of the exposed invertebrates and that different pollutants have unique molecular effects, with implications for both monitoring and remediation of toxins.

The earthworm Lumbricus rubellus has long been known as an 'ecosystem engineer' for the role it plays in water, nutrient and carbon cycling in a range of tropical and temperate soils, and is widely used as a model organism for soil testing. However, standard lab assays do not reveal the molecular mechanisms by which L. rubellus adapts to exposure to soil contaminants. Although the L. rubellus genome has not yet been sequenced, a comprehensive expressed sequence tag dataset is now available (www.earthworm.org) that enables the development of tools that bring the earthworm into the genomics arena.

Two teams, funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council and led by Peter Kille of Cardiff University, have jointly published their research on the use of a systems toxicology approach to understanding the impact of four soil contaminants on L. rubellus in the open access journals, BMC Biology and BMC Genomics. Using a new 8,000-element microarray, they describe the transcriptome profile of L. rubellus exposed to copper, cadmium, the polyaromatic hydrocarbon fluoroanthene, and the agrochemical atrazine. In both studies this approach revealed subtle changes induced by the toxic chemicals in earthworm gene expression patterns. The second study, which specifically focused on copper exposure, extended the approach by identifying the consequences of the genetic changes in terms of altered metabolism (impact to their metabolomic profile) in conjunction with large-scale physical changes in worm health.

The molecular approach to monitor ecosystem effects of toxins described in these two papers allows us to understand not only the uniqueness of earthworms, given that many of the genes they express do not yet have equivalents in 'model' organisms, but is also an important step towards the better understanding of how the earthworm has evolved adaptive mechanisms to deal with soil pollution.

This multidisciplinary research shows that a systems approach to ecotoxicology, combining technologies usually used in isolation, can be a powerful tool for understanding the response of an ecologically important organism to contaminants, and opens up the possibility of new and more effective soil monitoring and bioremediation strategies.

Dr Kille concluded "The ubiquitous nature of the earthworm makes it an accepted part of our everyday world. People don't ask themselves how worms survive in soil where the pH naturally ranges from acidic pet bogs at pH 4 to chalk downs at pH 8 or where intensively farming requires significant use of agrochemicals/pesticides or within highly contaminated ex-industrial sites. Our research illustrates how exploiting genomics and metabolomics reveals the mechanics that allow this organism to be omnipresent in our terrestrial environment."


'/>"/>

Contact: Charlotte Webber
charlotte.webber@biomedcentral.com
44-020-763-19980
BioMed Central
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Group led by Stanford physicist says theres an urgent need for nuclear detectives
2. Healthy parents provide clues to survival of young haddock on Georges Bank
3. Three Dimensional Visualization of Right Ventricle Provides Important Information for Treatment of Patients with Tetralogy of Fallot, According to a Study in The American Journal of Cardiology
4. Chloroform provides clue to 150 year old medical puzzle
5. Solving an avian scourge could also provide benefits to human health
6. Bioinformatics technology developed at Argonne provides new insight into microbial activities
7. Research with squirrels provides clues on hormones role in human learning
8. Plant Physiology and TAIR partnership will provide genetic information to public database
9. Researcher provides tool to enable determination of age of anchovies with greater precision
10. Scripps expedition provides new baseline for coral reef conservation
11. Mesothelin engineered on virus-like particles provides treatment clues for pancreatic cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Earthworm detectives provide genetic clues for dealing with soil pollution
(Date:3/17/2016)... ABI Research, the leader in transformative ... market will reach more than $30 billion by ... Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, continue to boost the ... reach two billion shipments by 2021 at a ... Research Analyst at ABI Research. "Surveillance is also ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... , March 15, 2016 Yissum Research ... the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, announced today ... remote sensing technology of various human biological indicators. Neteera ... $2.0 million from private investors. ... on the detection of electromagnetic emissions from sweat ducts, ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... HANOVER , Allemagne, March 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... http://www.apimages.com ) - --> - ... ) - --> ... les solutions biométriques, fournit de nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes ... lecteur LF10 de DERMALOG sera utilisé pour produire ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 29, 2016 , ... Intelligent Implant Systems announced today that the two-level components ... in the United States. These components expand the capabilities of the system and ... beginning in October of 2015, the company has seen significant sales growth in 1Q ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 The ... and Brayton Cryocoolers), Service (Technical Support, Product Repairs & ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 7.29% between ... data Tables and 94 Figures spread through 159 Pages ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... Connecticut Innovations ... companies, today announced the launch of VentureClash , a $5 million global ... , “VentureClash looks to attract the best early-stage companies here in Connecticut, around ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... investments in recruiting top industry experts, and expanding its LATAM network and logistics ... tools for clients to manage their clinical trial projects. , The expansion will ...
Breaking Biology Technology: