, Volume 218, Issue 1-4, pp 603-610
Date: 04 Nov 2010

Uptake and Accumulation of Anthropogenic Os in Free-Living Bank Voles (Myodes glareolus)

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Osmium tetroxide (OsO4) is one of the most toxic air contaminants but its environmental effects are poorly understood. Here, for the first time, we present evidence of osmium uptake in a common herbivore (bank vole, Myodes glareolus) in boreal forests of northern Sweden. Voles (n = 22) and fruticose arboreal pendular lichens, the potential main winter food source of the vole, were collected along a spatial gradient to the west of a steelwork in Tornio, Finland at the Finnish–Swedish border. 187Os/188Os isotope ratios increased and osmium concentrations decreased in lichens and voles along the gradient. Osmium concentrations in lichens were 10,000-fold higher than those in voles. Closest to the steelwork, concentrations were highest in kidneys rather than skin/fur that are directly exposed to airborne OsO4. The kidney-to-body weight ratio was higher at the two localities close to the steelwork. Even though based on a small sample size, our results for the first time demonstrate that osmium is taken up, partitioned, and accumulated in mammal tissue, and indicate that high kidney-to-body weight ratios might be induced by anthropogenic osmium.