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Doctor of Philosophy, (Health Science)
Study Completed: 2020
College of Health
Investigations into the Uptake and Effects of Long-term Cadmium and Arsenic Exposure on the Earthworm Eisenia fetida
Cadmium and arsenic are common soil contaminants that are highly toxic in trace amounts. They could have adverse impacts on soil-dwelling organisms and food crops. Ms Dharmadasa investigated the uptake of cadmium and arsenic by the earthworm Eisenia fetida. She examined the effects of the uptake (for up to three generations) and the potential for recovery when exposure ceases. Both elements accumulated in worm tissue as level and time of exposure increased. This accumulation changed gene expression and had a negative impact on growth and reproduction. Depending on exposure levels, the effects of cadmium could be reversed when worms were returned to clean soil. Arsenic could stimulate first-generation growth and cocoon production. However, effects were negative for subsequent generations. Her results have implications for how we might manage the impact of these toxic elements as environmental contaminants.
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Last updated on Tuesday 04 April 2017