that (i) the method works equally well for earthworms that are not preferential soil-feeders and (ii) it is not necessary to feed L. terrestris additional plant litter, as Dyckmans et al. (2005) proposed for litter-feeding earthworms. In contrast, the finding that the addition of oat flakes affected A. caliginosa more than L. terrestris suggests that the endogeic species is better able to collect small highly palatable food particles than the anecic species. Furthermore, the uptake of non-labelled C and N from this additional food could actually dilute the isotopic signal. The anecic species, L. terrestris, is one of the most active earthworm species in temperate soils but has never been investigated selleck kinase inhibitor in this respect before and our results show that cultivating this species, as well
as A. caliginosa, for four days in enriched soil can result in a stable signature in its tissue for at least 21 days. In the study by Dyckmans et al. (2005), tissue of A. caliginosa had isotopic enrichments about 20% higher for 15N and almost five times higher for 13C than in our study, although the amount of 15N and 13C added to the soil and the average A. caliginosa biomass were similar in both studies. However, isotopic incorporation GSK1120212 in vivo can vary considerably between individuals due to differences in physiological condition, growth and protein turnover ( Martinez del Rio et al. 2009). Similarly, Whalen and Janzen (2002) and Dyckmans et al. (2005) reported that differences in biomass cause enrichment variability. In our study, we observed considerable differences in earthworm condition, between individuals as well as between boxes. Some earthworms were in suboptimal condition resulting in overall data
variability, partly reduced activity and higher mortality (see missing data points in Fig. 2) that could be associated with low enrichment levels. L. terrestris had considerably higher enrichment in the “once + incub” treatment than in other treatments, but comparable to the highest enrichments in A. caliginosa. In contrast, enrichments in the treatment “once + incub + oat” in A. caliginosa were low compared to other treatments, but still at levels similar to some L. terrestris treatments. This Evodiamine study is the first to test the feasibility of dual-labelling earthworm casts with 15N and 13C in a technically simple way: feeding labelled soil to the earthworms and collecting their casts. The results show that even the simplest treatment, without incubation of the ammonium nitrate and with a one-time addition of glucose to the soil, resulted in casts being readily with stable isotopes. It is possible to store labelled casts over a period of 105 days without a significant loss of the labelling signal, which is very useful for planning and preparing experiments where labelled casts are needed.