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Variations of selected trace element contents in two layers of red deer antlers

Giżejewska, Aleksandra, Nawrocka, Agnieszka, Szkoda, Józef, Żmudzki, Jan, Jaroszewski, Jerzy, Giżejewski, Zygmunt
Journal of Veterinary Research 2016 v.60 no.4 pp. 467-471
Cervus elaphus, antlers, arsenic, atomic absorption spectrometry, bones, cadmium, copper, deer, histology, iron, mercury, zinc
Introduction: Hard antlers of deer are unique bioindicators of environmental metal pollutions, but sampling methods presented in the literature are inconsistent. Due to the specific growth pattern of antlers and their histological structure, sampling methods described in the literature were reviewed, the suitability of using mixed samples of both antler layers as element bioindicators was assessed, and the codified method of antler sampling used for bioindication was described. Material and Methods: Lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, copper, zinc, and iron in trabecular and cortical parts of hard antlers of red deer (Cervus elaphus) were determined using different methods of atomic absorption spectrometry (depending on the element). Results: Mean mercury content in trabecular bone (0.010 ±0.018 mg/kg) was 5 times higher than in cortical bone (0.002 ±0.003 mg/kg). Mean iron concentration was approximately 15 times higher in trabecular (239.83 ±130.15 mg/kg) than in cortical bone (16.17 ±16.44 mg/kg). Concentrations of other analysed elements did not differ statistically between antler layers. Conclusion: In mixed antler samples, concentrations of mercury and iron depend on the particular antler layer contents. This therefore warrants caution when comparing results across studies and specification of the sampling methodology of antlers is highly recommended.