Ecotoxicology of copper and cadmium in a contaminated grassland ecosystem. IV. Tissue distribution and age accumulation in small mammals.

Published online
31 Mar 1990
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Hunter, B. A. & Johnson, M. S. & Thompson, D. J.

Publication language


Tissue distribution and accumulation of Cu and Cd are described for populations of Apodemus sylvaticus, Microtus agrestis and Sorex araneus populations inhabiting control and refinery-site grasslands. Despite high ingestion rates for Cu at the Cu-refinery sites, accumulation appeared to be effectively regulated by in-built homeostatic mechanisms. At low levels of Cd intake, accumulation was centred on the kidney and liver. However, at the high daily ingestion rates of 25 µg/g recorded for S. araneus, storage of Cd in the liver increased compared with storage in the kidney. In the refinery population of S. araneus, liver Cd concn were 2 to 3 times greater than kidney concn; this represents storage of 87% and 6% of the total body burden of Cd in the liver and kidney, respectively. Cd concn of 800-1120 µg/g in the liver and 400-500 µg/g in the kidney are among the highest recorded in terrestrial wildlife. Cd accumulation was positively correlated with age in S. araneus.

Key words