Concentrations of heavy metals (zinc, copper, cadmium, and iron) were measured in several tissues (brain, gizzard, leg-muscle, heart, breast-muscle, intestine, liver and kidney) of moorhens (Gallinula chloropus), black-headed gulls (Larus ridibundus), and coots (Fulica atra) collected between autumn 1985 and spring 1989 in northern Italy. Cadmium concentrations in the liver and kidney of water-rails (Rallus aquaticus) and in five species of Anatidae collected also were measured. High mean (±SD) copper levels were detected in aerobic muscles such as heart (38 ± 5 μg/g dry weight (DW)) and pectoral muscles (35 ± 7 μg/g DW). Compared to other tissues, the iron content of brain was rather low and constant, with a mean value of 160 ± 17 μg/g DW in moorhens, 157 ± 60 μg/g DW in black-headed gulls, and 157 ± 25 μg/g DW in coots. Iron concentrations in tissues of moorhens from the Reno River were significantly higher than those from the Sile River. Cadmium was detectable only in the liver and kidney; there was a linear relationship between cadmium levels in these two organs. The highest mean (±SD) cadmium concentrations were present in the kidney of black-headed gull (30 ± 20 μg/g DW).
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Vol. 31 • No. 1