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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Acute and chronic toxicity of the new explosive CL-20 to the earthworm (Eisenia andrei) exposed to amended natural soils.

Monocyclic nitramine explosives such as 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazacyclohexane ( RDX) and octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) are toxic to a number of ecological receptors, including earthworms. The polycyclic nitramine CL-20 (2,4,6,8,10,12-hexanitro-2,4,6,8,10,12-hexaazaisowurtzitane) is a powerful explosive that may replace RDX and HMX, but its toxicity is not known. In the present study, the lethal and sublethal toxicities of CL-20 to the earthworm (Eisenia andrei) are evaluated. Two natural soils, a natural sandy forest soil (designated RacFor2002) taken in the Montreal area (QC, Canada; 20% organic carbon, pH 7.2) and a Sassafras sandy loam soil (SSL) taken on the property of U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground (Edgewood, MD, USA; 0.33% organic carbon, pH 5.1), were used. Results showed that CL-20 was not lethal at concentrations of 125 mg/kg or less in the RacFor2002 soil but was lethal at concentrations of 90.7 mg/kg or greater in the SSL soil. Effects on the reproduction parameters such as a decrease in the number of juveniles after 56 d of exposure were observed at the initial CL-20 concentration of 1.6 mg/kg or greater in the RacFor2002 soil, compared to 0.2 mg/kg or greater in the SSL soil. Moreover, low concentrations of CL-20 in SSL soil (approximately 0.1 mg/kg; nominal concentration) were found to reduce the fertility of earthworms. Taken together, the present results show that CL-20 is a reproductive toxicant to the earthworm, with lethal effects at higher concentrations. Its toxicity can be decreased in soils favoring CL-20 adsorption (high organic carbon content).[1]


  1. Acute and chronic toxicity of the new explosive CL-20 to the earthworm (Eisenia andrei) exposed to amended natural soils. Robidoux, P.Y., Sunahara, G.I., Savard, K., Berthelot, Y., Dodard, S., Martel, M., Gong, P., Hawari, J. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. (2004) [Pubmed]
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