High concentrations of arsenic (As) and selenium (Se) have been found in aquatic food chains associated with irrigation drainwater. Total biomass of invertebrates, a maJor source of protein for wild ducklings, may vary in environments that are contaminated with selenium. Dayold mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) ducklings received an untreated diet (controls) containing 22% protein or diets containing 15 ppm Se (as selenomethionine), 60 ppm Se, 200 ppm As (as sodium arsenate), 15 ppm Se with 200 ppm As, or 60 ppm Se with 200 ppm As. In a concurrent experiment, the same sequence was repeated with a proteinrestricted (7%) but isocaloric diet. After 4 weeks, blood and tissue samples were collected for biochemical and histological examination. With 22% protein and 60 ppm Se in the diet, duckling survival and growth was reduced and livers had histopathological lesions. Arsenic alone caused some reduction in growth. Antagonistic interactive effects occurred between As and Se, including complete to partial alleviation of the following Se effects: mortality, impaired growth, hepatic lesions and lipid peroxidation, and altered glutathione and thiol status. With 7% protein, survival and growth of controls was less than that with 22% protein, Se (60 ppm) caused 100% mortality, and As (200 ppm) caused mortality, decreased growth, and liver histopathology. These findings suggest the potential for antagonistic effects of Se and As on duckling survival, growth, and physiology with adequate dietary protein but more severe toxicological effects when dietary protein is diminished.
Additional Publication Details
Interactive effects of arsenate, selenium, and dietary protein on survival, growth, and physiology in mallard ducklings
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology