Dietary Selenomethionine Administration in the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis): Hepatic and Renal Se Accumulation and Its Effects on Growth and Body Condition

  • John W. FingerJr.
  • Matthew T. Hamilton
  • Travis C. Glenn
  • Tracey D. Tuberville
Article

Abstract

Selenium (Se) is an essential trace nutrient, but in excess, it can induce toxicity. Incomplete combustion of coal produces coal combustion wastes, which are enriched in Se and often disposed of in aquatic basins. While a multitude of studies have investigated Se accumulation in vertebrates, few studies have examined its effects on longer-lived top trophic carnivores, such as the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). In this study, alligators were fed one of three Dietary Treatments: mice injected with water (controls) or water supplemented with 1000 or 2000 ppm selenomethionine (SeMet). Dietary Treatment significantly affected Se levels in both the liver (p < 0.0001; raw mean ± SE: 1000 ppm group, 35.20 ± 6.32 ppm; 2000 ppm group, 49.97 ± 4.00 ppm) and kidney (p < 0.0001; raw mean ± SE: 1000 ppm group, 101.60 ± 8.64 ppm; 2000 ppm, 96.38 ± 5.81 ppm), which were significantly higher in alligators fed SeMet than in controls. Post-treatment head length, used to control for size variation, was negatively related to both kidney (p = 0.0142) and liver (p = 0.0010) Se concentrations. Dietary treatment with SeMet significantly reduced body condition (1000 ppm, p < 0.0029; 2000 ppm, p = 0.0075), but it significantly increased growth (1000 ppm, p < 0.0001; 2000 ppm, p = 0.0316). Body condition and growth remained unchanged in control alligators (p > 0.05). Our results demonstrate alligators are capable of accumulating high levels of Se through trophic transfer. The positive effects of accumulation on growth may demonstrate Se essentiality, whereas the negative effects on condition may demonstrate toxicity. Accumulation also was associated with mortality, further demonstrating toxicity. Future studies should further investigate the physiological effects of Se accumulation in long-lived, top-trophic carnivores.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. FingerJr.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Matthew T. Hamilton
    • 2
  • Travis C. Glenn
    • 1
    • 3
  • Tracey D. Tuberville
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health ScienceUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Savannah River Ecology LaboratoryUniversity of GeorgiaAikenUSA
  3. 3.Interdisciplinary Toxicology ProgramUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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