The reproduction of Enchytraeus sp.—technical improvement for the counting of juveniles
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Soil-dwelling annelids of the genus Enchytraeus are used in ecotoxicology for testing of chemicals mixed in artificial soil or for testing of wastes and soils of unknown quality. ISO 16387 describes a method for determining the effects of substances or contaminated soils on survival and reproduction of Enchytraeus albidus or of the smaller species Enchytraeus buchholzi or Enchy-traeus crypticus. After the total test duration of 6 (or 4) weeks, the juveniles hatched in the meantime are counted. There are several possible extraction techniques, which are always followed by counting the juveniles by hand, but none of them seems easy to handle. We proposed a new modification of the worm extraction method using flotation of fixed and stained juveniles followed by taking a photograph. The digital image of the juveniles is evaluated by computer processing. It makes the counting of juveniles much easier and less labor intensive.
KeywordsEnchytraeus crypticus Ecotoxicity Juvenile counting Photographing Digital image
This research was funded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of The Czech Republic within the framework of project no. 1 M06011 Centre of Molecular Methods for Monitoring of Diffuse Pollution.
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