Concentrations and distributions of metals in tissues of stranded green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) from the southern Atlantic coast of Brazil
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Silver (Ag), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) concentrations were analyzed in tissues of juvenile green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) found stranded along the southern Atlantic coast in Brazil. Green sea turtles were collected (n=29), measured (curved carapace length: CCL) and had their muscle, liver, and kidney dissected for metal concentration measurements. Sex was identified in 18 individuals (10 females and 8 males) through gonad histology. No gender differences in CCL and tissue metal concentrations were observed. In the muscle, there was a negative correlation between CCL and Cd and Cu concentrations. Metal concentrations were lower in the muscle than in the liver and kidney. Zn concentration in the muscle was the highest of all metals analyzed (16.6 mg/kg). The kidney showed the highest concentrations of Pb, Cd and Zn (5.4, 28.3 and 54.3 mg/kg, respectively), while the liver had the highest values of Ag and Cu (0.8 and 100.9 mg/kg, respectively). Tissue Ag, Zn and Cd concentrations were similar to those found in green sea turtles from other regions while Cu and Pb values were elevated, likely due to the metal-rich water and sediment reported in the collection area. In the liver and kidney, concentrations of non-essential (Ag, Cd and Pb) and essential (Cu or Zn) metals were positively correlated, likely due to an induced metallothionein synthesis to protect tissue against the toxic effect of metals. This is the first study to report and correlate the concentrations of essential and non-essential metals in tissues of green sea turtles in the Brazilian southern Atlantic coast, an important feeding and developing area for this turtle species.
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