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Mercury contamination of the harbor porpoise Phocoena phocoena and other cetaceans from the North Sea and the Kattegat
Joiris, C.R.; Holsbeek, L.; Bouquegneau, J.-M.; Bossicart, M. (1991). Mercury contamination of the harbor porpoise Phocoena phocoena and other cetaceans from the North Sea and the Kattegat. Water Air Soil Pollut. 56: 283-293
In: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution. Springer: Dordrecht. ISSN 0049-6979, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Joiris, C.R., more
  • Holsbeek, L., more
  • Bouquegneau, J.-M., more
  • Bossicart, M.

Abstract
    Total Hg levels were determined in 17 harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena collected in the North Sea and the Kattegat (muscle, liver and kidney), as well as in sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus , a common dolphin Delphinus delphis and two bottle-nose dolphins Tursiops truncatus collected in Belgium. Juvenile porpoises were characterized by total Hg concentrations increasing with length with median values of 3.1 µg/g dw in muscle, 6.2 in liver and 5.7 in kidney, and liver to muscle resp. liver to kidney ratios varying between 1 and 2. In adults, liver concentrations were higher with liver to muscle and to kidney ratios up to 20. Median MeHg concentrations in 5 of the porpoises were 4.0 µg/g dw in muscle and 6.9 in liver. These values did not increase as strongly with length as total Hg did; as a consequence, the relative MeHg levels decreased from 100% in juveniles to 2 or 3% in the liver of adults. Such results seem to reflect the existence of a slow mineralization phenomenon and storage of inorganic Hg, mainly in the liver.

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