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Sublethal effects of chronic lead ingestion in mallard ducks

June 16, 2010

Mallard drakes (Anas platyrhynchos) fed 1, 5, or 25 ppm lead nitrate were bled and sacrificed at 3‐wk intervals. No mortality occurred, and the pathologic lesions usually associated with lead poisoning were not found. Changes in hematocrit and hemoglobin concentration did not occur. After 3 wk ducks fed 25 ppm lead exhibited a 40% inhibition of blood δ‐aminolevulinic acid dehydratase activity that persisted through 12 wk exposure. After 12 wk treatment similar enzyme inhibition was present in the ducks fed 5 ppm lead. At 3 wk there was a small accumulation of lead (less than 1 ppm) in the liver and kidneys of ducks fed 25 ppm lead; no further increases occurred throughout the exposure. No significant accumulation of lead occurred in the tibiae or wing bones. Groups of ducks fed 5 and 25 ppm diets for 12 wk were placed on clean feed and examined through a 12 wk posttreatment period. After 3 wk on clean diet δ‐aminolevulinic acid dehydratase activity and lead concentrations in the blood had returned to pretreatment levels. Even though lead concentrations in the blood, soft organs, and bone were low, a highly significant negative correlation between blood lead and blood enzyme activity was obtained. This enzyme bioassay should provide a sensitive and precise estimate for monitoring lead in the blood for waterfowl.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1976
Title Sublethal effects of chronic lead ingestion in mallard ducks
DOI 10.1080/15287397609529395
Authors M. T. Finley, M. P. Dieter, L. N. Locke
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health
Series Number
Index ID 5221378
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center