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, 3 (3), 279-87

Mercury and Selenium in Marine Mammals and Birds

Mercury and Selenium in Marine Mammals and Birds

J H Koeman et al. Sci Total Environ.


Information is provided concerning the concentrations of mercury and selenium in tissues of marine animals. In marine mammals a 1:1 Hg/Se molecular increment ratio was found and an almost perfect linear correlation between mercury and selenium. It is suggested that marine mammals are able to detoxify methylmercury by a specific chemical mechanism in which selenium is involved. The results also indicate that the fate of methylmercury in fish-eating marine birds differs fundamentally from that in marine mammals.

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