Document Detail

Mercury distribution in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in Florida.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9226618     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Thirty American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), including 24 wild-caught and six control captive farm-raised alligators, were analyzed for whole body mercury contamination. Wild-caught animals were collected from Water Conservation Area 3 in the Everglades ecosystem (n = 12) and from Alachua, Brevard, and Collier counties outside the Everglades (n = 12). Using cold-vapor atomic absorption spectrophotometry, samples of brain, cervical spinal cord, liver, paired kidneys, paired testes, paired ovaries, paired oviducts, heart, lungs, spleen, bile, tail and leg muscle, and tail and leg scales were analyzed on a wet weight basis to determine mercury concentration. Mercury was consistently detected in all specimens except for bile. Farm-raised alligators, fed a commercially prepared diet, contained very low mercury concentrations in all tissues analyzed. In comparison with alligators from outside the Everglades, Everglades alligators had significantly elevated concentrations of mercury in all tissues analyzed except ovaries, oviduct, bile, tail scales, and leg scales (paired two-sample Student's tau-test, P < 0.05). Muscle concentrations exceeded state (0.50-1.50 ppm) and federal (1.00 ppm) allowances for safe human consumption in alligators collected in the Everglades. No clinical signs of neurologic, hepatic, or renal toxicosis were detected. Because of the alligator's ability to bioaccumulate mercury, this species might be useful as a bio-monitor for environmental mercury contamination.
T G Heaton-Jones; B L Homer; D L Heaton-Jones; S F Sundlof
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians     Volume:  28     ISSN:  1042-7260     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Zoo Wildl. Med.     Publication Date:  1997 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1997-08-20     Completed Date:  1997-08-20     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8915208     Medline TA:  J Zoo Wildl Med     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  62-70     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Alligators and Crocodiles*
Animals, Wild*
Animals, Zoo*
Mercury / analysis*
Mercury Poisoning / veterinary
Tissue Distribution
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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