Effects of microelements on soil nematode assemblages seven years after contaminating an agricultural field

Péter Nagy, Gábor Bakonyi, Tom Bongers, Imre Kádár, Miklós Fábián, István Kiss

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Long-term effects of Cd, Cr, Cu, Se and Zn were studied 7 years after artificially contaminating plots of an agricultural field on a calcareous chernozem soil. Effects of three to four different contamination levels (originally 10, 30, 90 and 270 mg kg-1) were studied. Nematode density was significantly reduced by 90 and 270 mg kg-1 Se as well as by 270 mg kg-1 Cr, while 90 and 270 mg kg-1 Se also reduced nematode generic richness. Maturity Index values (calculated for c-p 2-5 nematodes) consistently decreased with increasing Cr and Se concentration and to a lesser extent in Zn plots as well. Structure Index showed decreasing trends in increasing Cr, Se and (to a lesser extent) in Zn treatments, while in Cd it shows a moderate increase. Distribution of c-p groups was negatively affected by the increasing Cr and Se concentration, while in Zn plots, this decrease was not significant. Response of feeding groups to pollutions was similar to other parameters: Cr and Se caused significant changes toward the loss of variability. The proportion of the most sensitive omnivorous and predatory nematodes decreased clearly as a consequence of Cr and Se treatments. Zn pollution also resulted in a slight decrease in this group, while Cd caused an increase. Nematode diversity profiles showed a significant decrease in the plots of increased Cr and Se concentrations, while increased concentrations of Cu and Zn resulted in ambiguous effects. Besides providing evidence on the harmful effects of Cr and Se on a soil nematode assemblage, our results suggest that simultaneous analysis of Maturity Index, Structure Index and diversity profiles provide a promising tool in nematological indication of soil pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-143
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 29 2004



  • Diversity profiles
  • Heavy metals
  • Maturity index
  • Microelement concentration gradients
  • Nematodes
  • Soil pollution
  • Structure index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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