Arsenic in the liver, kidney and muscle of three species of sea turtles, e.g., green turtles (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), were determined using HG-AAS, followed by arsenic speciation analysis using HPLC-ICP-MS. The order of arsenic concentration in tissues was muscle > kidney > liver. Unexpectedly, the arsenic concentrations in the hawksbill turtles feeding mainly on sponges were higher than the two other turtles primarily eating algae and mollusk which accumulate a large amount of arsenic. Especially, the muscles of the hawksbill turtles contained remarkably high arsenic concentrations averaging 153 mg kg(-1) dry weight with the range of 23.1-205 mg kg(-1) (n = 4), even in comparison with the data from other organisms. The arsenic concentrations in the tissues of the green turtles were significantly decreased with standard carapace length as an indicator of growth. In arsenic compounds, arsenobetaine was mostly detected in the tissues of all the turtles. Besides arsenobetaine, a small amount of dimethylarsinic acid was also observed in the hawksbill turtles.
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