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Concentration of 12 Metals and Metalloids in the Blood of White Stork (Ciconia ciconia): Basal Values and Influence of Age and Gender

Maia, Ana Raquel, Soler-Rodriguez, Francisco, Pérez-López, Marcos
Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology 2017 v.73 no.4 pp. 522-532
Ciconia ciconia, adults, arsenic, blood, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, environmental monitoring, females, fledglings, iron, lead, males, manganese, mass spectrometry, mercury, nickel, pollution, selenium, zinc, Europe
The white stork (Ciconia ciconia) is being increasingly used in biomonitoring programmes of environmental contaminants due to its growing population in Europe; however, studies on inorganic elements are scarce. The blood of 70 white storks was collected and analysed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) to determine the presence of the following elements: lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), nickel (Ni), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), selenium (Se), manganese (Mn), chromium (Cr), cobalt (Co), and cadmium (Cd). Our main goals were to determine the mean concentrations of these elements in the blood and to study its association with age and gender. Mean concentrations were highest for Fe, followed by Zn, and lowest for Co and Cd. The metal levels were similar to the values referred in the literature for the same species from different locations. No statistically significant differences were found between males and females. Regarding age, statistically significant differences were observed for Ni, Cu, Se, Hg, and Pb between young and adult animals (except for Pb, values in adults were higher than in fledglings). Many element concentrations were correlated, with the strongest correlations between the pairs Hg–Se, Hg–As, and Fe–Zn, mainly in adults. This study provides the baseline data for a monitoring program based on white stork blood as a nondestructive sample.