Abstract: Copper, zinc, mercury, and cadmium were studied in the muscle, liver, and kidney of three adults and one juvenile Southern sea lion (Otaria flavescens) found dead on the beaches of Argentina. Heavy metal concentrations were determined by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry; cold vapor and air/acetylene flame techniques were applied for mercury and for the rest of the metals, respectively. Previous acid digestion was made with nitric/sulphuric (Hg) and perchloric/nitric (Cd, Zn, Cu) mixtures. Quality was checked with a Certified Reference Material. Mercury concentrations were highest in the liver, whereas cadmium levels were highest in the kidney. The juvenile and adults presented the same tissue distribution pattern for all studied metals. Hepatic mercury concentrations ranged from 23.3 μg/g (juvenile female) to 47.6 μg/g (adult male), with renal cadmium concentrations between 0.8 μg/g and 5.7 μg/g, respectively.
Key Words: HEAVY METALS; DISTRIBUTION; FOOD HABIT INFLUENCE; ARGENTINA; SOUTHERN SEA LION; OTARIA FLAVESCENS
Document Type: Research article
Page Numbers: 223 - 228