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Selenium and Mercury Interactions in Apex Predators from the Gulf of Trieste (Northern Adriatic Sea)

Faganeli, Jadran, Falnoga, Ingrid, Horvat, Milena, Klun, Katja, Lipej, Lovrenc, Mazej, Darja
Nutrients 2018 v.10 no.3
Myliobatis aquila, bioaccumulation, females, liver, males, mercury, methylmercury compounds, muscle tissues, muscles, particulates, plankton, predators, seawater, sediments, selenium, toxicity, Adriatic Sea
Since the environmental levels of selenium (Se) can moderate the bioaccumulation and toxicity of mercury (Hg) in marine organisms, their interactions were studied in seawater, sediments, plankton and the benthic (Bull ray Pteromylaeus bovinus, Eagle ray Myliobatis aquila) and the pelagic (Pelagic stingray Dasyiatis violacea) rays, as apex predators in the Gulf of Trieste (Northern Adriatic Sea). Male and female rays showed no difference in the Se contents in muscle tissue. Pelagic species contained higher Se levels in muscle but slightly lower levels in the livers of both genders. The Hg/Se ratios in seawater dissolved and colloidal fractions, plankton and sediment were <0.5, while those in particulate matter were <1.3. In benthic ray species, a parallel increase in Se and Hg in muscle was observed, so that an increased in Hg (MeHg) bioaccumulation results in Se coaccumulation. The Hg/Se ratios (molar) in muscle and liver of pelagic and benthic rays were <1.4 and <0.7, respectively. The low levels of Hg in muscle and liver in all the ray species corresponded to low Hg/Se ratios and increases in muscle and liver to 1 at 7 µg/g, dry weight (dw) and 5 µg/g dw, respectively, i.e., about 1.6 µg/g wet weight (ww).