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Environ Res. 1998 Nov;79(2):94-101.

Bioaccumulation of manganese and its toxicity in feral pigeons (Columba livia) exposed to manganese oxide dust (Mn3O4).

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  • 1Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Montreal, Montreal, H3C 3J7, Canada.


Manganese tetroxide (Mn3O4) is a product from the combustion of methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl. Exposure to high levels of manganese can lead to serious health effects especially to the central nervous and respiratory systems. Very few studies on the effects of long-term low level exposure to Mn3O4 have been reported. The present study was therefore conducted to examine the bioaccumulation and toxicity of manganese in various organs of feral pigeons (Columba livia) when exposed to low levels of Mn3O4 via inhalation and hence to find any possible relationship between these two parameters. A total of 22 pigeons was exposed to 239 micrograms/m3 of manganese for 7 h/day, 5 days/week for 5, 9, and 13 consecutive weeks. Manganese concentrations in various tissues, e.g., brain (mesencephalon), lung, liver, intestine, pancreas, kidney, muscle, bone, and whole blood, were measured by neutron activation analysis. Various biochemical parameters in blood, e.g., hematocrit, total proteins, glucose, uric acid, alanine aminotransferase, total iron, blood urea nitrogen and triglycerides, were also measured. Manganese concentrations in brain, lung, and bone were significantly higher in Mn3O4-exposed pigeons (0.59, 0.58, and 3.02 micrograms wet tissue, respectively) than in the control group (0.46, 0.19, 1.74 micrograms/g wet tissue, respectively). However, except for total proteins such exposure did not produce any changes in various biochemical parameters which were within the normal values. Thus these results have shown that, despite significant bioaccumulation of manganese in some tissues, no significant toxic effects could be seen.

Copyright 1998 Academic Press.

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