TitleContamination levels of mercury and cadmium in melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra) from a mass stranding on the Japanese coast
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsEndo, T, Hisamichi, Y, Kimura, O, Haraguchi, K, C. Baker, S
JournalThe Science of the Total Environment
Volume401
Issue1-3
Pagination73-80
Date Published2008 Aug 15
KeywordsTotal mercury
Abstract

Total mercury (T-Hg), methyl mercury (M-Hg), cadmium (Cd), selenium (Se), zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) concentrations in the organs of melon-headed whales from a mass stranding on the Japanese coast were analyzed. The mean concentration of T-Hg in the liver (126+/-97 microg/wet g, n=13) was markedly higher than those in kidney (6.34+/-2.36 microg/wet g, n=12) and muscle (4.90+/-2.33 microg/wet g, n=15). In contrast, the mean concentration of M-Hg in the liver (9.08+/-2.24 microg/wet g) was similar to those in the kidney (3.47+/-0.91 microg/wet g) and muscle (3.78+/-1.53 microg/wet g). The mean percentage of M-Hg in the T-Hg found in the liver (13.1+/-10.3) was significantly lower than those in the kidney (58.3+/-15.0) and muscle (78.9+/-8.4). The molar ratio of T-Hg to Se in the liver was effectively 1.0, but those in the kidney and muscle were markedly lower. Conversely, the mean concentration of Cd was markedly higher in the kidney (24.4+/-7.4 microg/wet g) than in the liver (7.24+/-2.08 microg/wet g) and muscle (less than 0.05 microg/wet g). These results suggest that the formation of Hg-Se compounds mainly occurs in the liver after the demethylation of M-Hg, and Cd preferentially accumulates in the kidney of melon-headed whales.

DOI10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.04.006