Intercomparison Studies on Distribution and Coassociations of Heavy Metals in Liver, Kidney, and Muscle of Harbor Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, from Southern Baltic Sea and Coastal Waters of Denmark and Greenland

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Abstract

The concentrations of selected metals such as Cd, Pb, Cu, Zn, Cr, Ni, Mn, and Fe were determined in liver, kidney, and muscle of harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) from three geographical regions, i.e., the Baltic Sea and Danish and Greenland coastal waters. The concentrations of Cd in liver and kidney increased with age of the specimens analyzed. Significant interspatial variations in both hepatic and renal levels of Cd were also observed. Average hepatic levels of Cd in Baltic, Danish, and Greenland specimens were (age range) 0.05–0.09, 0.12–0.25, and 20.6–51.6 μg g−1 dry weight, respectively. Such values for renal Cd were as follows: 0.55–0.71, 0.14–1.84, and 0.55–94.3 μg g−1 dry weight. In contrast to Cd, concentrations of Cu in the liver and kidney of specimens from Baltic, Danish, and Greenland areas did not indicate such great interspatial variability. The average hepatic values amounted to (age range) 14.1–15.5, 22.1–63.6, and 16.3–25.9 μg g−1 dry weight, and kidney contained on the average 7.83–8.80, 11.7–16.2, and 11.1–15.7 μg Cu g−1 dry weight, respectively. The higher levels of hepatic and renal Cd in Greenland specimens than in Baltic ones could be explained by different food composition in the area studied. Baltic porpoises mainly feed on fish (cod, plaice) containing extremely low levels of muscle Cd, but an important diet component of Greenlandic individuals is squid, characterized by elevated levels of Cd.

Received: 22 May 2001/Accepted: 11 November 2001