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Proposal of a testing strategy and assessment criteria for the ecotoxicological assessment of soil or soil materials

: Eisenträger, A.; Rila, J.-P.; Hund-Rinke, K.; Römbke, J.


Journal of soils and sediments 4 (2004), No.2, pp.123-128
ISSN: 1439-0108
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()
bioassay; ecotoxicity; genotoxicity; habitat function; retention function; soil assessment; soil extract; testing strategy

Background and Scope. Information on a potential contamination of soils or soil materials are derived by chemical analysis which takes place specifically for a given substance. For a comprehensive assessment, information on the bioavailable and mobile contaminant fraction, including all metabolites, is desirable. During the last years several research projects were initiated in Germany, to supplement the chemical analyses and to elaborate a suitable testing strategy. The main goal of this contribution is to elucidate the results of these research projects and to summarize the test strategy, which is recommended based on these results.
Results and Conclusion. Ecotoxicological tests, which are standardized for the assessment of chemicals, were regarded as a suitable starting basis for a cost effective, pragmatic approach. Aquatic tests (testing of aqueous soil extracts) focus on the retention function of soils and terrestrial tests (testing of soil) on the habitat function. Suitable reference systems for the terrestrial tests and assessment criteria for both test types (terrestrial and aquatic) were elaborated. On the basis of a round robin test and a laboratory comparison test, a minimal test battery was established. This minimal test battery can be supplemented by further tests if more or specific information is required.
Outlook. The recommendations should encourage the discussion regarding the application of biological methods for the assessment of soil quality. Such an assessment is or at least can be required by soil protection laws which have been adopted in some European countries within the last years.