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Toxic effects and uptake of fullerenes spiked to sediments by Lumbriculus variegatus



Jussi Parkinen, Elijah Petersen, Matti Lepp?nen, Jarkko Akkanen


Effects of fullerene-spiked sediment on a benthic organism, Lumbriculus variegatus were investigated. Survival, growth, reproduction, and feeding rates were measured to assess in the extent to which fullerene-spiked natural sediment had acute or chronic effects on the oligochaetes. L. variegatus were exposed to 10 and 50 mg fullerenes/kg sediment dry weight for 28 days. While these concentrations did not impact worm survival or reproduction compared to the control, there was a mass decrease after exposure for 28 days. Feeding rates were also slightly decreased for both concentrations indicating fullerenes' disturbing effect on eating. Depuration efficiency decreased in the high concentration only. Electron and light microscopy and extraction of the fecal pellets of worms revealed that fullerene agglomerates the gut tract but were not absorbed into the gut epithelial cells. Instead, the protective layer of epidermal cuticle fibers of the worms exposed to 50 mg/kg dw were completely destroyed in 15.7 % of the fibers, which may let worms susceptible to other contaminants. Fecal pellets of the worms contained fullerene concentrations twice as high as the test sediment. This result was partly explained by preferential fullerene sorption to fine particles of the sediment, which is the main food source for L. variegatus, and the oligochaete's selective feeding. Bioturbation by benthic organisms such as L. variegatus may cause fullerenes to cycle between the sediment and water phase.
Environmental Pollution


Parkinen, J. , Petersen, E. , Lepp?nen, M. and Akkanen, J. (2011), Toxic effects and uptake of fullerenes spiked to sediments by Lumbriculus variegatus, Environmental Pollution, [online], (Accessed March 3, 2024)
Created July 12, 2011, Updated October 12, 2021