Cadmium, copper and zinc have been analysed in some tissues and organs of Loggerhead, Kemp's Ridley (only muscle for this species) and Leatherback turtles stranded along the Atlantic coasts of France. The pancreas analysed only in Leatherback turtles exhibited the highest metal concentrations, which is very surprising for an organ which does not play a role in the detoxification processes. The distribution of these elements in kidney, liver and muscle were quite similar to that found in marine mammals or seabirds. Nevertheless, mean cadmium concentrations in the kidney were as high as 13.3 μg g-1wet weight in the Loggerhead turtles and 30.3 μg g-1wet weight in the Leatherback turtles. Such high concentrations in the Leatherback turtles have never been recorded before. The main source of cadmium for marine turtles is probably the food. The Leatherback turtles are known to feed mainly on jellyfish in this area. Ten times higher cadmium concentrations have been determined in jellyfish compared to fish. This would imply a greater exposure to cadmium for Leatherback turtles, which probably need to eat great quantities of jellyfish to cover their needs. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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