, Volume 108, Issue 1-2, pp 51-68

Uptake, Storage and Loss of Cadmium and Lead in the Woodlouse Porcellio scaber (Crustacea, Isopoda)

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The dynamics of lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) accumulation in juvenile Porcellio scaber were studied over 6 months after exposing them to three different concentrations of lead and cadmium in their food. Subsequently the ability of P. scaber to eliminate lead and cadmium was studied over two months. Growth was measured to determine whether metal contamination leads to physiological stress in the animals. The accumulation of Pb and Cd in P. scaber shows two different phases. Up to the age of 2–3 months the assimilation exceeds the rate of growth and leads to rapidly increasing concentrations. After 3 months the rate of accumulation is proportional to the rate of growth and the heavy metal concentrations remain on a stabilized level. P. scaber was able to eliminate about 40% of the assimilated lead within 2 weeks but there was no elimination of Cd within 7 weeks. Contaminated P. scaber shows significant growth reduction. The physiological response of P. scaber to heavy metal contamination is discussed.