Distribution of mercury in the organs and tissues of five toothed- whale species of the Mediterranean

  • Frodello J
  • Romeo M
  • Viale D
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apsule ' ' : The liver appeared to be the preferential storage organ for mercury accumulation for all species evaluated . Abstract Mercury levels were determined in the tissues and organs (lung , liver , kidney , skin , muscle , bone) of ®ve toothed - whales stranded along the Corsican coast between November 1993 and February 1996 . The species taken into consideration were the bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus , the common dolphin Delphinus delphis , the striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba , the pilot whale Glo - bicephala melas and the Risso ' s dolphin Grampus griseus . The variation in mercury levels between the di€erent tissues and organs (lung , liver , kidney , skin , muscle , bone) of the cetacean species are discussed as regards storage , biotransformation and elimination . In all cases , the liver appears to be the preferential organ for mercury accumulation (with concentrations as high as 4250 mg Hg / g dw and 3298 mg Hg / g in the livers of Tursiops truncatus and Grampus griseus , respectively) . The kidney and lung are the next organs in terms of mercury uptake followed by the muscle , bone and skin . The stomach contents of Grampus griseus and D . delphis were determined and consisted of cephalopods for Grampus griseus , and of sardines Sardina pilchardus and mackerels Trachurus sp . for D . delphis . Cephalopods had higher mercury concentrations (25 . 4 mg Hg / g dw) than ®sh (ca 1 mg Hg / g) . These contents represent only one meal and mercury levels found in livers may integrate mercury uptake having occurred during the whole life span of animals . #

Author-supplied keywords

  • mediterranean
  • mercury
  • mercury biotransformation
  • mercury storage
  • toothed-whales

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  • J P Frodello

  • M. Romeo

  • D Viale

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