The aim of this study was to assess the effect of major cations (Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+, and H+) on cadmium toxicity to the springtail Folsomia candida. Survival of the animals was determined after seven days exposure to different cadmium concentrations in an inert sand-solution medium, in different experimental setups with modification of the cation concentrations. Among the cations tested, Ca2+ and Mg2+ had protective effects on the toxicity of cadmium to the springtails while Na+, K+, and H+ showed less competition with free cadmium ions for binding to the uptake sites of the collembolans. Toxicity predicted with a biotic ligand model agreed well with the observed values. Calculated conditional binding constants and the fraction of biotic ligands occupied by cadmium to show 50% effects were similar to values reported in the literature. The results emphasize the important role of solution chemistry in determining metal toxicity to soil invertebrates.
- Conditional binding constant