Document Detail

Monitoring the arsenic and iodine exposure of seaweed-eating North Ronaldsay sheep from the gestational and suckling periods to adulthood by using horns as a dietary archive.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17533823     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Trace elements often accumulate in keratin-rich tissues. Hair, nails, and horns grow steadily but once formed are metabolically inactive and provide an archive of trace element exposure when analyzed in segments. Here we demonstrate the use of laser ablation ICP-MS for the high-resolution monitoring of trace elements in the horns of seaweed-eating sheep from North Ronaldsay, which live on grass only during lambing time. Due to this peculiar husbandry/dietary pattern and the fact that seaweed is rich in arsenic and iodine, we hoped to use iodine and arsenic as markers for seaweed ingestion. Cross sections and scans along the growing axis (representing the first 8-10 months of the sheep's life) revealed that these elements were not homogeneously distributed in the horn, with arsenic representing the amount of seaweed intake. The scans show the periods in which the lambs were fed on milk and grass and the change to seaweed ingestion with the successive replacement of milk with seaweed; this was supported by the carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures (delta13C and delta15N) of the horn and the arsenic speciation in the horn. The period of low arsenic accumulation in the horn had terrestrial isotope signatures and accumulated arsenic of mainly inorganic origin. The period of high arsenic accumulation was characterized by isotope signatures of marine origin, and the majority of accumulated arsenic in the horn was the main arsenosugar metabolite dimethylarsinic acid. Although we have investigated only four different horns of individual sheep, this study shows that arsenic is not significantly transported with milk. However, the high concentration of arsenic in the oldest part of the horn, which was formed in utero, points to a relatively high placental transport of arsenic while the ewe was eating seaweed. In contrast to arsenic, iodine is transported not only through milk ingestion but also through the placenta in large quantities.
Guilhem Caumette; Sairoong Ouypornkochagorn; Charlie M Scrimgeour; Andrea Raab; Jörg Feldmann
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental science & technology     Volume:  41     ISSN:  0013-936X     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Sci. Technol.     Publication Date:  2007 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-05-30     Completed Date:  2007-06-21     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0213155     Medline TA:  Environ Sci Technol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2673-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Chemistry, College of Physical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Meston Walk, Old Aberdeen AB24 3UE, Scotland, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Feed
Animals, Suckling
Arsenic / chemistry*
Diet / veterinary*
Horns / chemistry*
Iodine / chemistry*
Seaweed / chemistry*
Sheep / metabolism*
Reg. No./Substance:
7440-38-2/Arsenic; 7553-56-2/Iodine

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