Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 17, pp 17118–17127 | Cite as

Tissue distribution and oral exposure risk assessment of heavy metals in an urban bird: magpie from Central Iran

  • Mohammad Zarrintab
  • Rouhollah Mirzaei
Research Article


Direct ingestion of soil and/or soil attached to the food items is a potential rout for wildlife exposure to contaminants. In this study, bioaccumulation of five heavy metals (HMs) in internal tissues of an urban bird (Pica pica) collected from Aran-O-Bidgol City, Central Iran and their related soil were investigated. A total of 15 magpie specimens were collected in autumn 2013 and then their internal tissues were digested using a mixture of HNO3 and H2O2, and finally, concentrations of HMs were detected by ICP-OES. In addition, in order to show level of HM exposure risk to magpie, an exposure risk assessment was modeled. Results indicated that HMs were accumulated as follows: liver > kidney > muscle. Zn and Cu were significantly higher in magpie’s tissues collected from agricultural site; on the other hand, Pb and Cd were significantly higher in industrial site (p < 0.05). Level of Cd in male’s livers (2.11 μg/g dw) was significantly higher than in females (1.85 μg/g dw) (p < 0.05). Levels of Cd, Pb, and Ni in liver, muscle, and kidney, respectively, were significantly higher in adults than in subadults (p < 0.05). Soil exposure doses of all HMs were lower than tolerable daily intake (Zn 4.35, Cu 1.34, Ni 5.65, Pb 0.35, and Cd 0.53). The calculated hazard quotations (HQs) for HMs were as follows: Pb > Zn > Cu > Ni > Cd and for all HMs were at no risk level (HQ < 1). The amounts of hazard index for three sites were as follows: urban (1.032) > agriculture (0.943) ≥ industry (0.941) and only for urban area was at low risk (1 < HQ < 2). It seemed that birds living in a safe environment and/or HM contaminations in soil separately had no negative effects on magpies. We can also suggest that low levels of HMs in magpie’s tissues can be due to low levels of HMs in soil.


Trace elements Biomonitoring Exposure risk assessment Soil contamination Urban bird Magpie (Pica pica



The authors would like to thank Mr. Allahyar Dovlatkhah and other staff of the Aran-O-Bidgol Department of Environment for providing the necessary facilities during sample collection. The authors also thank Ms. Neda Ravankhah for her help during the sample analysis. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environment, Faculty of Natural Resources and Earth SciencesUniversity of KashanKashanIran

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