Annalisa Zaccaroni, Camilla Niccoli, Giulia Andreani, Dino Scaravelli, Maria Ferrante, Antonia Lucisano, Gloria Isani
December 16, 2010
This study was conducted to determine heavy metals concentrations in tissues of 94 birds belonging to different species from coastal areas of Naples and Salerno (Southern Italy) in order to provide baseline data concerning trace element levels in wild birds living in or close to an area characterized by high anthropogenic impact. Additional aim of this study was to verify if diet influenced metal accumulation, so birds were classified as birds of prey, fish eating birds and insectivorous birds. Kidney was the primary organ for Cd accumulation in all groups considered, Pb was accumulated preferentially in bone, whereas Hg showed high values in liver of fish eating birds. Zn showed the highest mean concentrations, while Cu levels were one order of magnitude less. The variance analysis with respect to feeding habits disclosed only a lower accumulation of Hg in insectivores with respect to the other groups. For all metals, the concentrations measured in tissues should be considered indicative of chronic exposure to low, “background” environmental levels and/or to the presence of low bioavailable metals in the environment. In addition, metal levels were not of toxicological concern, being always well below the toxic thresholds defined for each metal.