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Discussion: Earthworms-Talk

See also Ice Age Farmer wiki page on earthworms [1]

Survival food

Earthworms may make a very good food. However they are prone to parasites which means they need to be cooked thouroughly to kill any parasites. [2] However peroxidase is a very important enzyme that can kill listeria so you may want to try not deactivating that. I think parasites and eggs die at 60c and peroxidase is safe at that temp so soux vide might be a good method to cook.

Rabbits and worms work well together [3]

cleaning the worms [4]


Insects can contain antinutrients and toxicogenic compounds. [5] they often contain heavy metals as well. Crickets are known to contain cadmium and earthworms also contain heavy metals. Therefore they should be cooked in alkaline conditions (like adding calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, or a little calcium hydroxide) to prevent the body from dissolving the metals in the stomach acid. I can't find any research about alkaloids or toxins present in earthworms, but caution should be used.

Heavy metals and Types

Lumbricus accumulates heavy metals less than Aporrectodea [6].

Anecic (like Lumbricus and Megascolecidae) has less heavy metals than other types (Megascolecidae less metals than Lumbricidae) however all earthworms do accumulate cadmium and mercury yet not copper and lead as much. It is said that worms have trouble excreting mercury and cadmium [7] [8] however I think this is due to sulfur deficiency in the soil. Nitrogen is usually abundant and dissolves copper and lead, thus why these can be eliminated and why mercury and cadmium cannot.

Megascolecidae Metaphire is probably the best since it is Megascolecidae and Anecic thus accumulates lowest heavy metals.

Plastics don't effect gut of metaphire [9]

Also that study showed higher pH leads to less metal uptake which is expected, I believe it also shows higher organic matter leads to less uptake too.

Study of earthworm effects on heavy metals in soil [10].

Earthworms tend to accumulate heavy metals if they are soluble [11], so raising soil pH makes them less soluble thus absorbed less.

Earthworms raise soil pH and thus reduce heavy metal bioavailability in soil [12]. Perhaps this is why anecic species have less heavy metals since they eat the same soil multiple times.


Optimized worm food [13]

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