Arsenic Speciation, Distribution, and Bioaccessibility in Shrews and Their Food

  • Maeve M. Moriarty
  • Iris Koch
  • Kenneth J. ReimerEmail author


Shrews (Sorex cinereus) collected at a historic mine in Nova Scotia, Canada, had approximately twice the arsenic body burden and 100 times greater daily intake of arsenic compared with shrews from a nearby uncontaminated background site. Shrews store arsenic as inorganic and simple methylated arsenicals. Much of the arsenic associated with their primary food source, i.e., small invertebrates, may be soil adsorbed to their exoskeletons. A physiologically based extraction test estimated that 47 ± 2% of invertebrate arsenic is bioaccessible in the shrew gastrointestinal tract. Overall, shrews appear to be efficient at processing and excreting inorganic arsenic.


Arsenic Arsenic Concentration Arsenic Speciation Inorganic Arsenic Background Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



PNC/XSD facilities at the Advanced Photon Source, and research at these facilities, were supported by the United States Department of Energy–Basic Energy Sciences; a major facilities access grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; the University of Washington; Simon Fraser University; and the Advanced Photon Source. Use of the Advanced Photon Source is also supported by the United States Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. This work was also supported by NSERC awards, including a Discovery Grant as well as funds from the Metals in the Human Environment Strategic Network (MITHE-SN), to K. J. Reimer. We thank PNC/XSD beamline scientist R. Gordon of Simon Fraser University for help with XAS analysis; Michael Parsons of Natural Resources Canada for providing laboratory space, data; and insight; and Jared Saunders and John Peters of the Environmental Sciences Group for their invaluable field work in Nova Scotia and laboratory work at the Royal Military College of Canada.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 36 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maeve M. Moriarty
    • 1
  • Iris Koch
    • 1
  • Kenneth J. Reimer
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Environmental Sciences GroupRoyal Military College of CanadaKingstonCanada

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