Assimilation of cadmium in a European lacertid lizard: Is trophic transfer important?

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Journal Article
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2006, 25 (12), pp. 3199 - 3203
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Apart from analyses for elemental contaminants in field-collected specimens, very little is known about the assimilation and accumulation of inorganic contaminants in reptiles. Recent dietary studies with reptiles (and some other vertebrates and invertebrates) have taken care to incorporate the principles of trophic transfer by pre-exposing prey items to the elemental contaminant of interest. However, there are conflicting data in the literature as to whether biologically incorporated metals are more bioavailable to consumers in a food chain than simple salts added to the diet, and this study examines this issue in a lacertid lizard. Adult individuals of Podarcis carbonelli were exposed to cadmium (Cd) in a 21-week dietary study to determine whether the form in which the Cd is provided influences assimilation efficiency for this metal. Lizards were provided with Cd that had either been biologically incorporated into crickets or as Cd(NO3)2 added superficially to crickets just prior to feeding. Radiospectrometric analysis for 109Cd in animal tissues and fecal material was used to follow Cd accumulation over the duration of exposure. The highest levels of accumulation were found within the gut. This, combined with the observation of higher rates of assimilation over the first five weeks, strongly suggests a rapid accumulation of Cd within the gut tissue followed by a slower redistribution to other tissues. No statistically different levels of Cd assimilation efficiency were detected between the two treatment groups, nor were there any statistically significant differences between the two treatment groups in relation to the proportional distribution to the gut, liver, or kidneys. © 2006 SETAC.
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