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Influence of earthworms on the behaviour of organic micropollutants in sewage sludge

Publication at Faculty of Science |


The objective of this study was to evaluate the concentration of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and endocrine disrupting chemicals during vermicomposting of sewage sludge using Eisenia andrei and in earthworm tissues with the aim of evaluating the effectiveness of earthworms to remove these substances. The experiment was carried out for 120 days with and without earthworms in varying proportions of sewage sludge in a mixture with dried straw pellets at 100, 75, 50, and 25% (w/w) of sludge.

The results revealed that the earthworms had the most significant removal efficiencies on triclosan (37%) and mirtazapine (14%). Venlafaxine (193%), triclosan (43%), and citalopram (37%), had the most earthworm influence efficiency of degradation.

The maximum vermiaccumulation of caffeine (72%), carbamazepine (65%), cetirizine (32%), citalopram (16%), diclofenac (183%), and triclosan (118%) was obtained. Based on these findings, earthworms show great promise in removing monitored compounds from sewage sludge during vermicomposting.

However, further research is needed to optimize the process for maximum removal efficiency and confirm this approach's effectiveness.