Sublethal effects of chronic lead ingestion in mallard ducks

Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health
By: , and 



Mallard drakes (Anas platyrhynchos) fed 1, 5, or 25 ppm lead nitrate were bled and sacrificed at 3‐wk intervals. No mortality occurred, and the pathologic lesions usually associated with lead poisoning were not found. Changes in hematocrit and hemoglobin concentration did not occur. After 3 wk ducks fed 25 ppm lead exhibited a 40% inhibition of blood δ‐aminolevulinic acid dehydratase activity that persisted through 12 wk exposure. After 12 wk treatment similar enzyme inhibition was present in the ducks fed 5 ppm lead. At 3 wk there was a small accumulation of lead (less than 1 ppm) in the liver and kidneys of ducks fed 25 ppm lead; no further increases occurred throughout the exposure. No significant accumulation of lead occurred in the tibiae or wing bones. Groups of ducks fed 5 and 25 ppm diets for 12 wk were placed on clean feed and examined through a 12 wk posttreatment period. After 3 wk on clean diet δ‐aminolevulinic acid dehydratase activity and lead concentrations in the blood had returned to pretreatment levels. Even though lead concentrations in the blood, soft organs, and bone were low, a highly significant negative correlation between blood lead and blood enzyme activity was obtained. This enzyme bioassay should provide a sensitive and precise estimate for monitoring lead in the blood for waterfowl.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sublethal effects of chronic lead ingestion in mallard ducks
Series title Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health
DOI 10.1080/15287397609529395
Volume 1
Issue 6
Year Published 1976
Language English
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 9 p.
First page 929
Last page 937
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