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Sci Total Environ. 2018 Jun 15;627:1228-1233. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.296. Epub 2018 Feb 7.

In vivo fractionation of mercury isotopes in tissues of a mammalian carnivore (Neovison vison).

Author information

1
Environment & Life Sciences Graduate Program, Trent University, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON K9L 0G2, Canada.
2
School of the Environment, Trent University, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON K9L 0G2, Canada. Electronic address: devans@trentu.ca.
3
School of the Environment, Trent University, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON K9L 0G2, Canada.
4
Water Quality Centre, Trent University, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON K9L 0G2, Canada.

Abstract

The use of isotope ratios to trace Hg contamination sources in environmental compartments is now generally accepted. However, for biota and especially for mammals, it is still unknown if and/or how Hg isotopes fractionate in vivo and which tissue is most representative of the source(s) of contamination. We measured fractionation of Hg in mink (Neovison vison) tissues (fur, brain, blood, liver, kidney) collected during a controlled feeding experiment where captive mink were fed differing amounts of methylmercury. There was no significant effect of dietary MeHg concentrations on Hg fractionation in most tissues. Net fractionation of Hg, i.e., fractionation corrected for diet (δ202Hgtissue202Hgdiet) was observed in all tissues with the greatest net fractionation occurring in the mink liver (-1.39‰) and kidney (-0.95‰). Less net fractionation, occurred in the brain (-0.12‰), blood (0.38‰) and fur (0.30‰). In the absence of brain tissue, fur is a suitable proxy which is readily obtainable and can be non-lethally collected. In these mink, it appears that biochemical processes such as demethylation, contribute to significant fractionation of Hg in the liver and kidney, but not as much in the brain and fur, where transport of Hg via thiol-containing complexes may be more important.

KEYWORDS:

Fur; In vivo isotopic fractionation; Mammal; Methylmercury; Tissue partitioning

PMID:
30857087
DOI:
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.296
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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