Levels of Total Mercury in Tissues of Mallard Drakes from Industrialized Wetlands Area

  • Łukasz J. Binkowski
  • Anna Przystupińska
  • Włodzimierz Wojtaś


The distribution of total mercury in the bodies of drake mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) inhabiting an industrialized wetland area in southern Poland was studied. The median Hg concentration in tissue of various bones (0.017 µg/g w.w.) was statistically lower than the concentration found in muscle tissue (0.023 µg/g w.w.) and in internal organ tissue samples calculated across the whole range of organ types (0.036 µg/g w.w.). The median concentrations in muscle tissue and organ tissue were comparable. Significant differences within the examined bones were observed, with the beak accumulating the highest amount (0.105 µg/g w.w.). Concentrations were comparable in tissue from various muscles, whereas internal organ tissue displayed a significant variation. The highest median concentration was detected in the kidneys (0.109 µg/g w.w.). Correlations of Hg concentrations between major groups of tissue (i.e. bone, muscle and internal organs) were not statistically significant, but several significant relationships were noted between internal organs.


Mercury Accumulation Bone Muscle Organ 



The authors thank Natalia Rębilas and Ewelina Samek for their help in dissections and morphometric measurements. We are also very grateful to Bogdan Binkowski and Ciri z Porovnani for their help in collecting the birds.


  1. Aazami J, Esmaili-Sari A, Bahramifar N, Ghasempouri M, Savabieasfahani M (2011) Mercury in liver, kidney, feather and muscle of seabirds from major wetlands of the Caspian Sea, Iran. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 86:657–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aazami J, Esmaili-Sari A, Bahramifar N, Savabieasfahani M (2012) Total and organic mercury in liver, kidney and muscle of waterbirds from wetlands of the Caspian Sea, Iran. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 89:96–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alleva E, Francia N, Pandolfi M, De Marinis AM, Chiarotti F, Santucci D (2006) Organochlorine and heavy-metal contaminants in wild mammals and birds of Urbino-Pesaro province, Italy: an analytic overview for potential bioindicators. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 51:123–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker K (1993) Identification guide to European non-passerines. BTO Guide 24. British Trust for Ornithology, ThetfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Binkowski ŁJ (2012) The effect of material preparation on the dry weight used in trace elements determination in biological samples. Fresenius Environ Bull 21(7a):1956–1960Google Scholar
  6. Binkowski ŁJ, Meissner W (2013) Levels of metals in blood samples from mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) from urban areas in Poland. Environ Pollut 178:336–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Binkowski ŁJ, Rzonca B (2014) Seasonal variation of lead, other metals and ions concentrations in fish pond waters of high hunting activity area. Water Air Soil Pollut 225(12):1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Binkowski ŁJ, Sawicka-Kapusta K (2015a) Cadmium concentrations and their implications in mallard and coot from fish pond areas. Chemosphere 119:620–625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Binkowski ŁJ, Sawicka-Kapusta K (2015b) Lead poisoning and its in vivo biomarkers in mallard and coot from hunting activity areas. Chemosphere 127:101–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Binkowski ŁJ, Sawicka-Kapusta K, Szarek J, Strzyżewska E, Felsmann MZ (2013) Histopathology of liver and kidneys of wild living mallards Anas platyrhynchos and coots Fulica atra with considerable concentrations of lead and cadmium. Sci Total Environ 450–451:326–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bojar H, Bojar I (2009) Monitoring of contamination of the Lublin region wetlands using mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) as a vector of the contamination by various conditionally toxic elements. Ann Anim Sci 9:195–204Google Scholar
  12. Braune BM, Malone BJ (2006) Organochlorines and mercury in waterfowl harvested in Canada. Environ Monit Assess 114:331–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chemicals UNEP (2002) Global mercury assessment. UNEP Chemicals, Geneva, pp 1–270Google Scholar
  14. Cramp S, Simmons KEL (eds) (1998) The complete birds of the western Palearctic on CD-ROM Version 1.0 for PC. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  15. European Comission (2001) Comission Regulation (EC) No 466/2001 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs. Off J Eur Comm L77/1Google Scholar
  16. Florijančic T, Opacak A, Boskovic I, Jelkic D, Ozimec S, Bogdanovic T, Listeš I, Škrivanko M, Puškadija Z (2009) Heavy metal concentrations in the liver of two wild duck species: influence of species and gender. Ital J Anim Sci 8:222–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gasparik J, Vladarova D, Capcarova M, Smehyl P, Slamecka J, Garaj P, Stawarz R, Massanyi P (2010) Concentration of lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic in leg skeletal muscles of three species of wild birds. J Environ Sci Health Part A 45(7):818–823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kalisińska E, Salicki W, Mysłek P, Kavetska KM, Jackowski A (2004) Using the mallard to biomonitor heavy metal contamination of wetlands in north-western Poland. Sci Total Environ 320(2–3):145–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kalisińska E, Budis H, Podlasińska J, Łanocha N, Kavetska KM (2010a) Body condition and mercury concentration in apparently healthy goosander (Mergus merganser) wintering in the Odra estuary, Poland. Ecotoxicol 19:1382–1399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kalisińska E, Lisowski P, Jackowski A (2010b) Mercury in muscle of mallard Anas platyrhynchos living near the city of Szczecin, Poland. Oceanol Hydrobiol Stud 1:79–92Google Scholar
  21. Kalisińska E, Kosik-Bogacka D, Lisowski P, Lanocha N, Jackowski A (2013) Mercury in the body of the most commonly occurring European game duck, the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos L. 1758), from Northwestern Poland. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 64:583–593CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kitowski I, Kowalski R, Komosa A, Lechowski J, Grzywaczewski G, Scibor R, Pitucha G, Chrapowicki M (2012) Diversity of total mercury concentrations in kidney of birds from Eastern Poland. Ekológia (Bratislava) 31:12–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kozulin A, Pavluschick T (1993) Content of heavy metals in tissues of mallards Anas platyrhynchos wintering in polluted and unpolluted habitats. Acta Ornithol 28:55–61Google Scholar
  24. ME (2005) Rozporządzenie Ministra Środowiska z dnia 11 marca 2005 r. w sprawie ustalenia listy gatunków zwierząt łownych (Ministry of the Environment, 11 March 2005: List of game species in Poland). Dziennik Ustaw, 45(433)Google Scholar
  25. Nichols J, Bradbury S, Swartout J (1999) Derivation of wildlife values for mercury. J Toxicol Environ Health 2:325–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nordberg GF, Fowler BA, Nordberg M, Friberg LT (eds) (2007) Handbook on the toxicology of metals. Elsevier, LondonGoogle Scholar
  27. Pain DJ (1991) Why are lead-poisoned waterfowl rarely seen? The disappearance of waterfowl carcasses in the Camargue, France. Wildfowl 42:118–122Google Scholar
  28. Taggart MA, Figuerola J, Green AJ, Mateo R, Deacon C, Osborn D, Meharg AA (2006) After the Aznalcollar mine spill: arsenic, zinc, selenium, lead and copper levels in the livers and bones of five waterfowl species. Environ Res 100:349–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tataruch F, Kierdorf K (2003) Mammals as biomonitors. In: Markert BA, Breure AM, Zechmeister HG (eds) Bioindicators and biomonitors. Elsevier, LondonGoogle Scholar
  30. Vermeer K, Armstrong FAJ, Hatch DRM (1973) Mercury in aquatic birds at Clay Lake, Western Ontario. J Wildl Manag 37:58–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wolfe MF, Schwarzach S, Sulaiman RA (1998) Effects of mercury on wildlife: a comprehensive review. Environ Toxicol Chem 17:146–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zar JH (2010) Biostatistical analysis. Pearson Prentice Hall, New JerseyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Łukasz J. Binkowski
    • 1
  • Anna Przystupińska
    • 1
  • Włodzimierz Wojtaś
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of BiologyPedagogical University of CracowKrakówPoland

Personalised recommendations