Arsenic (As) and selenium (Se) occur together in high concentrations in the environment and can accumulate in aquatic plants and invertebrates consumed by waterfowl. Ninety-nine pairs of breeding mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) were fed diets supplemented with As (sodium arsenate) at 0, 25, 100, or 400 ug/g, in combination with Se (seleno-DL-methionine) at 0 or 10 ug/g, in a replicated factorial experiment. Ducklings produced were placed on the same treatment combination as their parents. Arsenic accumulated in adult liver and egg, reduced adult weight gain and liver weight, delayed the onset of egg laying, decreased whole egg weight, and caused eggshell thinning. Arsenic did not affect hatching success and was not teratogenic. In ducklings, As accumulated in the liver and reduced body weight, growth, and liver weight. Arsenic did not increase duckling mortality, but it did decrease overall duckling production. Selenium accumulated in adult liver and egg, was teratogenic, and decreased hatching success. Selenium did not affect adult weight, liver weight, survival, onset of egg laying, egg fertility, egg weight, or eggshell thickness. In ducklings, Se accumulated in the liver and reduced body weight and growth, and increased liver weight. Selenium increased duckling mortality and decreased overall duckling production. Antagonistic interactions between As and Se occurred whereby As reduced Se accumulation in liver and egg, and alleviated the effects of Se on hatching success and embryo deformities. It was demonstrated that As and Se, in the chemical forms and at the dietary levels administered in this study, can adversely affect mallard reproduction and duckling growth and survival, and that As can alleviate toxic effects of Se.
Additional Publication Details
Main and interactive effects of arsenic and selenium on mallard reproduction and duckling growth and survival
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology