Time-dependent uptake and toxicity of nickel to Enchytraeus crypticus in the presence of humic acid and fulvic acid

Erkai He, Hao Qiu*, Rongliang Qiu, Charlotte Rentenaar, Quentin Devresse, Cornelis A.M. Van Gestel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study aimed to investigate the influence of different fractions of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) on the uptake and toxicity of nickel (Ni) in the soil invertebrate Enchytraeus crypticus after different exposure times. The addition of DOC as humic acid or fulvic acid significantly reduced Ni uptake by E. crypticus in the soil-solution test system. Median lethal effect concentrations were calculated based on total dissolved Ni concentrations (LC50[Ni]), free Ni ion activity (LC50{Ni2+}), and Ni body concentrations (LC50Body-Ni). The LC50[Ni] values increased with increasing DOC levels and decreased with exposure time (4, 7, and 10 d). Humic acid exerted a greater protective effect on Ni toxicity than fulvic acid, but the protective effects decreased with prolonged exposure time. The LC50{Ni2+} values also decreased with exposure time but were almost constant with variation in DOC levels, indicating that the protective effect of DOC is mainly through complexation with free Ni ions to reduce Ni bioavailability. The LC50Body-Ni value was independent of DOC concentration and exposure time, with an estimated overall value of 22.1 µg/g dry weight. The present study shows that body concentration could serve as an effective indicator for predicting Ni toxicity with variations in the exposure environment (e.g., DOC) and exposure time. Environ Toxicol Chem 2017;36:3019–3027.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3019-3027
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Accumulation
  • Bioavailability
  • Dissolved organic matter
  • Ecotoxicity
  • Soil organism


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