Toxicity of perfluorooctanoic acid towards earthworm and enzymatic activities in soil.
Environ Monit Assess. Jul 2016;188(7):424. Epub 2016 Jun 21. PMID: 27329475
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a widespread persistent organic contaminant in the environment that has recently raised much of regulatory and public concern. Therefore, assessment of its ecological risk is a top priority research. Hence, this study investigated the toxicity of PFOA to beneficial microbial processes in the soil such as activities of dehydrogenase, urease and potential nitrification in addition to earthworm survival, weight loss and PFOA bioaccumulation in two contrasting soils. In general, PFOA caused inhibition of all the measured microbial processes in a dose-dependent manner and the inhibition was higher in Williamtown (WT) soil than Edinburgh (EB) soil. Thus, WT soil being sandy in nature with low clay content showed higher PFOA bioavailability and hence showed higher toxicity. There was no mortality in earthworms exposed up to 100 mg PFOA/kilogram soil in both the soils; however, there was a significant weight loss from 25 mg/kg onwards. This study clearly demonstrates that soil contamination of PFOA can lead to adverse effects on soil health.