Whole blood (WB) is commonly used to assess mercury (Hg) exposure in mammals, but handling and shipping samples collected in remote areas can be difficult. We describe and validate use of cellulose filter paper (FP) for quantifying WB total Hg concentration. Advantec Nobuto® FP was soaked with bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) or harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) WB (collected between March and July 2012), then air dried. Untreated blood-soaked FPs were analyzed or were eluted with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and the eluate and PBS-treated FP Hg concentrations were determined. Total Hg from dried blood-soaked FPs, postelution FPs, and PBS-based eluate were compared with total Hg concentrations from WB. Recovery (on a concentration basis) for soaked FP relative to WB was 0.89±0.15, for postelution FP was 0.86±0.13, and for eluate (with a correction factor applied) was 0.96±0.23. Least-squares linear regressions were fit for soaked papers (y = 1.15x, R2 = 0.97), postelution FPs (y = 1.22x, R2 = 0.95), and for eluate with a correction factor applied (y = 0.91x 0.03, R2 = 0.97) as compared with WB. These data show that FP technology can have a valuable role in monitoring blood Hg concentrations in wildlife populations and FPs have the advantage of being easy to use, store, and transport as compared with WB.
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Vol. 50 • No. 2