3 years ago

Environmental pollutants, pathogens and immune system in earthworms

Shyamasree Ghosh


Earthworms also known as farmer’s friends are natural tillers of soil. They belong to Phylum Annelida and class Oligochaeta. Acid soils with organic matter and surface humus maintain the largest fauna of worms and earthworms. Due to their habitat in soil, they are constantly exposed to microbes and pollution generated by anthropogenic sources. Studies have revealed that damage of the immune system of earthworms can lead to alterations of both morphological and cellular characteristics of worms, activation of signalling pathways and can strongly influence their survival. Therefore, the understanding of the robust immune system in earthworms has become very important from the point of view of understanding its role in combating pathogens and pollutants and its role in indicating the soil pollution. In this article, we have outlined the (i) components of the immune system and (ii) their function of immunological responses on exposure to pollutants and pathogens. This study finds importance from the point of view of ecotoxicology and monitoring of earthworm health and exploring the scope of earthworm immune system components as biomarkers of pollutants and environmental toxicity. The future scope of this review remains in understanding the earthworm immunobiology and indicating strong biomarkers for pollution.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11356-017-1167-8

DOI: 10.1007/s11356-017-1167-8

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