Enrofloxacin at environmentally relevant concentrations enhances uptake and toxicity of cadmium in the earthworm Eisenia fetida in farm soils.J Hazard Mater. 2016 May 05; 308:312-20.JH
Individual and combined effects of enrofloxacin (EF) and cadmium (Cd) on the earthworm Eisenia fetida at environmentally relevant concentrations were investigated. EF is a veterinary antibiotic; Cd is an impurity in phosphatic fertiliser. For both, residues may accumulate in farm soils. In laboratory tests, over 98% of spiked EF was adsorbed by farm soils, with a half-life >8 weeks. However, earthworms absorbed less than 20% of spiked EF. Earthworms in soil with EF concentration 10 mg kg(-1) soil experienced transient oxidative stress and exhibited reduced burrowing activity and respiration after an 8-week exposure; EF at 0.1 and 1.0 mg kg(-1) soil did not elicit toxicity symptoms. When both were added, Cd did not affect EF uptake, but each increment of spiked EF increased Cd bioaccumulation and associated oxidative stress of earthworms, and also caused decreased burrow length and CO2 production. However, metallothionein induction was not affected. The enhanced toxicity of Cd to earthworms in the presence of EF at low environmental concentrations may have implications for the health and reproductive success of earthworm populations and highlights the importance of understanding effects of antibiotic contamination of farm soils, and of awareness of environmental effects from interaction between multiple contaminants.