Land application of wastes from concentrated animal feeding operations results in accumulation of copper (Cu) and antimicrobials in terrestrial systems. Interaction between Cu and antimicrobials may change Cu speciation in soil solution, and affect Cu bioavailability and toxicity. In this study, earthworms were exposed to quartz sand percolated with different concentrations of Cu and ciprofloxacin (CIP). Copper uptake by earthworms, its subcellular partition, and toxicity were studied. An increase in the applied CIP decreased the free Cu ion concentration in external solution and mortalities of earthworm, while Cu contents in earthworms increased. Copper and CIP in earthworms were fractionated into five fractions: a granular fraction (D), a fraction consisting of tissue fragments, cell membranes, and intact cells (E), a microsomal fraction (F), a denatured proteins fraction (G), and a heat-stable proteins fraction (H). Most of the CIP in earthworms was in fraction H. Copper was redistributed from the metal-sensitive fraction E to fractions D, F, G, and H with increasing CIP concentration. These results challenge the free ion activity model and suggested that Cu may be partly taken up as Cu-CIP complexes in earthworms, changing the bioavailability, subcellular distribution, and toxicity of Cu to earthworms.
- BIOTIC LIGAND MODEL