|Giant River Turtle (Podocnemis expansa)|
Schneider et al. (2011) determined the concentrations of mercury (Hg) in four tissues of six species of turtles from the Rio Negro. They found two species that had mercury concentrations in blood and carapace tissues that were correlated with concentrations in internal tissues. This serves as a way to establish a non-lethal indicator of internal metal exposure or body burden of Hg. Mercury levels were also correlated to turtle size and gender. The liver in five species of turtles had the highest concentration, followed by carapace, muscle, and blood. The exception was Chelus fimbriatus, which had a higher metal concentration in the muscle than carapace. The use of carapace tissue to infer internal concentrations of Hg is commonly used in freshwater and sea turtles, but this study found that only blood might be a reliable indicator of Hg concentrations in liver and muscle tissues for P. sextuberculata. Thus blood may be used as a non-invasive method to study concentrations of Hg in liver and muscle of P. sextuberculata. The entire article can be found on-line.
Schneider, L., L. Belger, J. Burger, R. C. Vogt, C. Jeitner, J. R. P. Peleja. 2011. Assessment of non-invasive techniques for monitoring mercury concentrations in species of Amazon turtles. Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry, 93(2):238-250.