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Toxic effects of boron on mallard reproduction

January 1, 1989

Boron, a naturally occurring trace element generally considered environmentally innocuous, was documented to severely impair mallard reproduction. Boron is leached from irrigated agricultural soils and transported in drainage water that contaminates wetlands. Until now, only the selenium accumulated in aquatic food chains has been documented to pose a toxic hazard to wildlife in drainage water wetlands. Adult mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) ducks were fed diets supplemented with 0, 30, 300 or 1,000 ppm boron (fresh weight; diets contained about 10% moisture). The hatching success of fertile eggs was significantly reduced by 1,000 ppm boron, less than one-third the highest boron concentrations found in plants in California's San Joaquin Valley. Hatching weights, duckling survival and duckling weight gain were also reduced by 1,000 ppm boron. Boron concentrations in mallard egg, liver and brain tissues were dose-related. Boron did not affect adult survival or egg fertility. Management of drainage water-contaminated environments must now also consider the adverse effects of boron, as well as the possible interactions of drainage water contaminants.

Publication Year 1989
Title Toxic effects of boron on mallard reproduction
DOI 10.1002/etc.5620081013
Authors G. J. Smith, V.P. Anders
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Index ID 5222284
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center