Communities of oribatid mites and heavy metal accumulation in oribatid species in agricultural soils in Egypt impacted by waste water

https://doi.org/10.17221/31/2010-PPSCitation:El-Sharabasy H.M., Ibrahim A. (2010): Communities of oribatid mites and heavy metal accumulation in oribatid species in agricultural soils in Egypt impacted by waste water. Plant Protect. Sci., 46: 159-170.
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The continued use of waste water for irrigation of agricultural fields in Egypt may lead to accumulation of heavy metals in soils and adverse effects on soil-living communities. We investigated responses of oribatid communities to heavy metal contamination in mango plantations irrigated by the Ismailia canal in the Suez region. Mean concentrations of heavy metals determined in irrigation water were considerably above the recommended levels. Concentrations of metals in agricultural soil were however below the permissible levels. A comparison with concentrations of a typical uncontaminated soil in this area revealed that the Ismailia water canal used for irrigation of agricultural land has elevated levels of heavy metals. The results of our ecological survey showed that the abundance and structure of the soil oribatid communities were not influenced by levels of heavy metals in the soil. We also showed that the diversity index can be a valuable tool for assessing the possible impact of pollutants on different species of oribatid mites. The oribatid species appeared to be accumulating different amounts of heavy metals when characterised by their bioconcentration factors. Most species were poor zinc accumulators. The accumulation of heavy metals in the body of oribatids was not strictly determined by their body size or by the trophic level. In conclusion, our study showed that mango plantations impacted by waste water from the Ismailia canal are accumulating heavy metals in their soils above the background concentrations, but ecological effects on soil-living communities are not apparent yet.
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