Towards Study of UV-C Radiation Effect on Earthworms and Isopods Via Electron Microscopy

Document Type : Original Article


1 Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Assiut University

2 Department of Veterinary Pathology and Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Assiut University


Background and Objective: Ultraviolet (UV)radiation is the most significant modifiable risk factor for eye and skin disorders especially skin cancer, atrophy, pigment shifts, and wrinkling in many living organisms. So, this study is based on the detection of the cumulative effects of UV-C radiation on the earthworms (as an alternative model for human skin) and isopods (as an alternative model for the eye) coupled with scanning electron microscopic analysis (SEM). This study was designed for the assessment of human health implications and for the planning of safety measures for human beings.
Materials and Methods:  Random samples of earthworms and isopods were collected from different areas. Ten earthworms (Lumbricus castaneus) and fifteen isopods (Porcellio laevis) per set were put in a plastic container and were placed in four groups: control and three UV-C treated groups.  The groups were exposed to UV-C for (15 min/day, 30 min/day and 60 min/day) for three consecutive days using a Laminar Flow UV (254 nm). However, the control group was kept under laboratory conditions and without exposure to UV-C. Morphological changes of earthworms and isopods were examined using SEM.
Results: Mild changes appeared after exposure of earthworms and isopods to UV-C for 15 min/day. These changes are maximized after 30 min/day. Complete disappearance of the cell junctions in earthworms with sloughed tissue as well accumulation of crusts between junctions of the compound eye in isopods were observed after exposure for 60 min/day.
Conclusion: For the first time, SEM analysis was established to detect the influence of UV-C radiation on earthworms and isopods. It was found that prolonged exposure to UV-C radiation induced severe damage and an increase in the mortality rate for both earthworms and isopods.