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How are trace elements mobilized during the postweaning fast in Northern elephant seals?
Habran, S.; Crocker, D.E.; Debier, C.; Das, K. (2012). How are trace elements mobilized during the postweaning fast in Northern elephant seals? Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 31(10): 2354-2365.
In: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Setac Press: New York. ISSN 0730-7268; e-ISSN 1552-8618, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

    Mirounga angustirostris Gill, 1866 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Mirounga angustirostris; Trace element; Postweaning fast; Blood; Hair

Auteurs  Top 
  • Habran, S.
  • Crocker, D.E.
  • Debier, C.
  • Das, K.

    Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) pups undergo a substantial intertissue reorganization of protein, minerals, and other cellular components during their postweaning development, which might entail the mobilization of associated contaminants. The authors investigated the changes in concentrations of 11 elements (Ca, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Ni, Pb, Se, V, and Zn) in a longitudinal study on 22 northern elephant seal pups during the postweaning fast. Slight changes in most element concentrations were observed in blood throughout the fast. Circulating levels of Hg, Se, and Cu appeared less altered during the postweaning fast than measured during suckling. Despite the considerable fat utilization, element concentrations, except Fe, in blubber remained stable throughout the fast, which suggests that elements are mobilized from blubber as efficiently as lipids. As indicators of the placental transfer, concentrations in lanugo hair revealed the existence of maternal transfer and accumulation of all assayed trace elements during fetal development. In addition, the new pelage, rapidly produced after weaning, appeared to be an important elimination route for toxic metals such as Hg, Cd, and Pb. The high mineral content detected in pup hair suggests that this species would be more exposed to trace elements than other phocids (except Cd and Pb). Nevertheless, this statement needs further monitoring and toxicological studies to determine better the exposition to trace elements and its potential impact on the health of the northern elephant seal.

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