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Worms and heavy metals

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Worms and heavy metals

Post  llama momma on 11/18/2012, 2:00 pm

I was trying to find an article on worms ability to filter out nasty BPA from plastic, but so far found this instead. Very Interesting but deeply scientific stuff. My head hurt a little trying to understand.. According to this info on worms and heavy metals-- Looks like our worm friends can process a variety of bad stuff in their gut and produce uncontaminated castings. No wonder the chinese symbol for earthworm is literally translated into English as Angels Of The Earth.

http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/handle/10072/23487/55347_1.pdf?sequence=1
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Re: Worms and heavy metals

Post  Kelejan on 11/18/2012, 4:21 pm

Thanks for finding this article LLM. Aren't our little friends the best thing going? It makes me all the more want to try to produce a larger population in my garden and make my garden a wonderland.

I will be printing this for my worm library.

ETA: I am now visualising all my worms with sets of wings.

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Re: Worms and heavy metals

Post  mollyhespra on 11/18/2012, 7:24 pm

Great article, LM!

So, the way I understood it is that the worms eat the bad stuff and somehow transform the bad stuff into OK stuff that they poop out--SO, when the worm dies, there is no bad stuff left in their bodies (only whatever hasn't been digested yet) so that they aren't just returning the bad stuff to the soil again and re-depositing it after accumulating it over the course of their lifetime.

Is that how you-all understood it?
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Re: Worms and heavy metals

Post  llama momma on 11/18/2012, 8:12 pm

Kelejan - glad you enjoyed the article. I wish I understood more of the technical stuff but I got enough out of it. Yes our little angels of the earth - maybe if I describe it that way to friends maybe then they'll take a look in the bins? Shocked

MollyH - yuppers that's how I understood it. I think there was a mention of their gut converting the ions (I think) in the metals. Amazing little critters. Also read somewhere else when they die their little bodies are high in protein and water, adding back good things right to the very end.
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Re: Worms and heavy metals

Post  camprn on 11/18/2012, 8:56 pm

From what I read, regarding the heavy metal uptake by certain earth worm species, in their gut they chemically alter some of the metals into forms that plants can utilize from the casts.

I found the comments about certain bacteria and fungi propagated in the worm gut being capable of degrading chemical compounds interesting. Add more worms into the mix and the biodegrading accelerates. Fascinating.

The article speaks to the worms absorbing through the gut or skin and retaining within their bodies high amounts of metals and dioxin (toxic) without it effecting the worm physiology. However, it is silent on when the worm dies do these compounds go back to the soil, though at much lower levels than originally measured?

A great article with obvious positives for impact in cleaning up brownfields and other contaminated sites (Earth). Thanks for sharing What a Face

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Re: Worms and heavy metals

Post  llama momma on 11/20/2012, 4:43 pm

@llama momma wrote:.....Looks like our worm friends can process a variety of bad stuff in their gut and produce uncontaminated castings.
http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/handle/10072/23487/55347_1.pdf?sequence=1

I want to amend that statement. Yes, the castings are returned BUT with less toxicity. That is what the studies are showing. Seems logical the next worm will reduce it more. Thanks Camp for getting it right the first time.
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Re: Worms and heavy metals

Post  NHGardener on 11/20/2012, 11:07 pm

Great article, llama momma! Nature is amazing.
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Re: Worms and heavy metals

Post  llama momma on 11/21/2012, 8:45 am

Thanks!
Also want to share that I wrote to Bentley Cristie from redwormcomposting.com about BPA absorption from plastic bins. He said there is no clear answer at this time. It is not known how much BPA is released to begin with. I say maybe there are no worries.. We've already seen from the article that the worms further process the same vermicastings repeatedly and continue to reduce toxicity. I don't know about anyone else but that sounds pretty good to me.
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Re: Worms and heavy metals

Post  NHGardener on 11/21/2012, 8:47 am

Wow. Never thought about the plastic bins. More and more I'm trying to stay away from plastics, esp. after watching Bag It.

Happy almost Thanksgiving, all.
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Re: Worms and heavy metals

Post  walshevak on 11/21/2012, 11:38 am

@llama momma wrote:Thanks!
Also want to share that I wrote to Bentley Cristie from redwormcomposting.com about BPA absorption from plastic bins. He said there is no clear answer at this time. It is not known how much BPA is released to begin with. I say maybe there are no worries.. We've already seen from the article that the worms further process the same vermicastings repeatedly and continue to reduce toxicity. I don't know about anyone else but that sounds pretty good to me.

Better than most chances we can get on our compost.

Kay

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Re: Worms and heavy metals

Post  llama momma on 11/21/2012, 6:48 pm

Agree!!
I find it interesting that Darwin long ago reading wrote about and understood the wondrous contributions of our worm friends. Worms deserve to be a common knowledge type of respect.
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