, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 152-156

Dietary selenium protection of methylmercury intoxication of Japanese quail

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Selenium, as sodium selenite, added at 5 ppm to purified diets of Japanese quail protected against methylmercury intoxication. Selenium fed simultaneously with methylmercury to quail for 9 weeks gave complete protection. However, feeding selenium with methylmercury for 4 weeks, followed by a diet containing only methylmercury, delayed the onset of methylmercury intoxication for 1–2 weeks as compared to quail not pretreated with selenium. On diets which contained 20 ppm of methylmercury but no selenium, over 90% mortality was observed for young quail within 2 weeks, and mature quail within 4 weeks. Methylmercury residues in liver, kidney, and brain are higher in male than female quail. High methylmercury content of these organs, or in produced eggs, does not indicate that birds will show evidence of methylmercury toxicosis.