Hormesis Associated with a Low Dose of Methylmercury Injected into Mallard Eggs

  • Gary H. Heinz
  • David J. Hoffman
  • Jon D. Klimstra
  • Katherine R. Stebbins
  • Shannon L. Kondrad
  • Carol A. Erwin
Article

Abstract

We injected mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) eggs with methylmercury chloride at doses of 0, 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, 1.6, 3.2, and 6.4 μg mercury/g egg contents on a wet-weight basis. A case of hormesis seemed to occur because hatching success of eggs injected with 0.05 μg/g mercury (the lowest dose) was significantly greater (93.3%) than that of controls (72.6%), whereas hatching success decreased at progressively greater doses of mercury. Our finding of hormesis when a low dose of methylmercury was injected into eggs agrees with a similar observation in a study in which a group of female mallards was fed a low dietary concentration of methylmercury and hatching of their eggs was significantly better than that of controls. If methylmercury has a hormetic effect at low concentrations in avian eggs, these low concentrations may be important in a regulatory sense in that they may represent a no-observed adverse effect level (NOAEL).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (Outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary H. Heinz
    • 1
  • David J. Hoffman
    • 1
  • Jon D. Klimstra
    • 1
  • Katherine R. Stebbins
    • 1
  • Shannon L. Kondrad
    • 1
  • Carol A. Erwin
    • 1
  1. 1.United States Geological SurveyPatuxent Wildlife Research CenterBeltsvilleUSA

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