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Accumulation of Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd in the garden snail (Helix aspersa): implications for predators

Accumulation of Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd in the garden snail (Helix aspersa): implications for predators

Environmental Pollution 91(3): 289-297

ISSN/ISBN: 0269-7491

PMID: 15091421

DOI: 10.1016/0269-7491(95)00070-4

Accumulation of Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd was studied in snails fed for 120 days on diets contaminated with each metal separately and with all metals mixed together. The concentrations of Zn in food were in the range 39 to 12 200 mg kg(-1), Cu 9-1640 mg kg(-1), Pb 0.4-12 700 mg kg(-1), and Cd 0.16-146 mg kg(-1) on a dry weight basis. At the highest concentrations of all metals the consumption rates decreased significantly. For the remaining concentrations, Zn and Cu were accumulated in soft tissue in proportion to their concentrations in food. The lowest treatments of Pb and Cd did not cause any increase in soft tissue concentrations of these metals but at average treatments, a clear increase was observed. Copper was accumulated especially efficiently, exceeding concentrations in food throughout the whole range of treatments. Except for the lower end of experimental treatments, Zn was accumulated approximately in direct proportion to its concentration in the diet. Lead was the most efficiently regulated metal, with soft tissue concentrations always substantially lower than in food. Approximately 60% of Zn, 90% of Cu, 43% of Pb and 68% of Cd on average was assimilated from food. The assimilation efficiency of food alone was ca 74%. The concentrations of metals in shells increased significantly with exposure, but (with one exception) the concentrations in shells did not exceed 5% of those found in soft tissue. We argue that snails are more important as agents of food-chain transport of Cu and Cd, than of Zn or Pb. Our results indicate also that snails are not able to deposit significant quantities of metals in their shells, at least during the time scale of our laboratory experiment.

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