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Toxicological investigations on four sperm whales stranded on the Belgian coast: inorganic contaminants
Bouquegneau, J.-M.; Debacker, V.; Gobert, S.; Nellissen, J.P. (1997). Toxicological investigations on four sperm whales stranded on the Belgian coast: inorganic contaminants, in: Jacques, G. et al. (Ed.) Potvissterfte in de Noordzee: wetenschap en beheer = Sperm whale deaths in the North Sea: science and management. Bulletin van het Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen. Biologie = Bulletin de l'Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique. Biologie, 67(Suppl.): pp. 75-78
In: Jacques, G.; Lambertsen, R.H. (Ed.) (1997). Potvissterfte in de Noordzee: wetenschap en beheer = Sperm whale deaths in the North Sea: science and management. Bulletin van het Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen. Biologie = Bulletin de l'Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique. Biologie, 67(Suppl.). Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen: Brussel. 133 + synthese (dutch) pp., more
In: Bulletin van het Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen. Biologie = Bulletin de l'Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique. Biologie. Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen: Bruxelles. ISSN 0374-6429, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • Bouquegneau, J.-M.; Debacker, V.; Gobert, S.; Nellissen, J.P. (1997). Toxicological investigations on four sperm whales stranded on the Belgian coast: inorganic contaminants. Bull. Kon. Belg. Inst. Natuurwet. Biologie 67(suppl.): 75-78, more

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Keywords
    Cadmium; Detoxification; Heavy metals; Selenium; Stranding; Toxicology; ANE, Belgium [Marine Regions]; ANE, North Sea, Southern Bight [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Bouquegneau, J.-M., more
  • Debacker, V., more
  • Gobert, S., more
  • Nellissen, J.P.

Abstract
    Nine heavy metals have been analysed in the liver, muscle and kidneys of sperm whales that stranded on the Belgian coast, November 18, 1994. The concentrations of most of the studied inorganic contaminants -except mercury and cadmium- were very low. The mercury content of the tissues was high, but in the range of those found in sperm whales previously described in the literature, as shown by Joiris et al. (this volume), and most of the mercury was found under an inorganic form. We found a close correlation between the mercury and selenium contents of the livers, which strongly suggests that the pollutant was detoxified under the tiemannite form, and therefore was not potentially toxic for the animals. On the contrary, cadmium was found in high concentrations, which was expectable owing to the normal diet of the species (cephalopods), but twice those previously described in the literature for sperm whales. Moreover, the metal was not found, as it is generally the case, to be bound to metallothioneins (a protein well known for its protective effect against heavy metals toxicity) and therefore may have contributed to the debilitation of the animals.

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