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Bioaccumulation and Elimination of Waterborne Mercury in the Midge Larvae, Chironomus riparius Meigen (Diptera: Chironomidae)


Here, mercury kinetics and behavioural effects in the midge larvae under a water-only exposure were assessed. Uptake and elimination of waterborne mercury were described by using a one-compartment kinetic model. Results show that midges were able to readily accumulate the heavy metal (BCF = 450), presenting a fast uptake, up to 13.1 μg Hg g of animal−1 at the end of the exposure period. Elimination was slow, with c.a. 39 % of the mercury in larvae being depurated after 48 h in clean medium. Behaviour did not present differences upon exposure or elimination, but a trend to increase ventilation was noticed during the exposure period.

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Financial support for this work was provided by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia through a PhD research grant to Henrique M.V.S. Azevedo Pereira (SFRH/BD/18516/2004), a Post-Doc grant to S.N. Abreu (SFRH/BPD/45807/2008), and by funding FEDER through COMPETE—Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade, and by National funding through FCT-Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, within the research project «FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-007069» (PTDC/BIA-BDE/72841/2006).

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Correspondence to Henrique M. V. S. Azevedo-Pereira.

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Azevedo-Pereira, H.M.V.S., Abreu, S.N., Lemos, M.F.L. et al. Bioaccumulation and Elimination of Waterborne Mercury in the Midge Larvae, Chironomus riparius Meigen (Diptera: Chironomidae). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 89, 245–250 (2012).

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  • Toxicokinetics
  • Online biomonitoring
  • Mercuric chloride
  • Water only exposure