ISO 16387:2004 describes a method for determining the effects of substances or contaminated soils on reproduction and on survival of the worm Enchytraeus albidus (Enchytraeidae). The animals are exposed to the substances by dermal and alimentary uptake using a defined artificial soil substrate to which specified amounts of that substance are added, or by using a soil substrate of unknown quality.
ISO 16387:2004 is applicable to test substances that are either insoluble or soluble in water, although the method of application differs. The method is not applicable to volatile test substances, i.e. substances for which H (Henry's constant) or the air/water partition coefficient is greater than 1, or for which the vapour pressure exceeds 0,013 3 Pa at 25 °C. For optimum applicability, the water solubility and the vapour pressure of the test substance should be known. Additionally, information on the persistence of the test substance in soil is desirable.
Basic information on the ecology and ecotoxicology of Enchytraeidae in the terrestrial environment can be found in the bibliographic references.
The stability of the test substance cannot be ensured over the test period. No provision is made in the test method for monitoring the persistence of the test substance.
Recommendations for adapting the method to comparing or monitoring soil quality are given in Annex B.