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Al Sayegh Petkovsek S.,Ecological Research and Industrial Cooperation | Kopusar N.,Ecological Research and Industrial Cooperation | Krystufek B.,University of Primorska
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2014

The transfer of lead, cadmium, zinc, mercury, copper and molybdenum from soil to the tissues of small mammals inhabiting differently polluted areas in Slovenia was investigated. Metals were determined in soil samples and in the livers of 139 individuals of five small mammal species, collected in 2012 in the vicinity of a former lead smelter, the largest Slovenian thermal power plant, along a main road and in a control area. The area in the vicinity of former lead smelter differs considerably from other study areas. The soil from that area is heavily polluted with Pb and Cd. The mean metal concentrations in the liver, irrespective of species, varied in the following ranges-Pb: 0.40-7.40 mg/kg fw and Cd: 0.27-135 mg/kg fw and reached effect concentrations at which toxic effects can be expected in a significant proportion of the livers of the small mammal specimens (Pb 40 %, Cd 67 %). These findings indicate that the majority of small mammals trapped in the area of the former lead smelter are at risk of toxic effects due to the very high bioaccumulation of Pb and Cd in the organism. On the contrary, Pd and Cd concentrations in the livers of small mammals sampled in the vicinity of the thermal power plant and along the main road were comparable with reference values and considerably lower than effect concentrations. Additionally, the study suggests that Apodemus flavicollis and Myodes glareolus are very suitable biomonitors of metal pollution. © 2014 Springer International Publishing. Source


Petkovsek S.A.S.,Ecological Research and Industrial Cooperation | Pokorny B.,Ecological Research and Industrial Cooperation
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2013

Cd and Pb contents were determined in 699 samples of fruiting bodies of 55 mushrooms species, collected in the period 2000-2007 in the vicinity of the largest Slovenian thermal power plant (the Šalek Valley) and near an abandoned lead smelter (the Upper Meža Valley). The present study is the first regarding lead and cadmium in mushrooms from those exposed areas. Therefore, there was a significant lack of prior data. Among 55 studied mushroom species 36 species are edible and important from an ecotoxicological perspective. However, the remaining non-edible species are important for bioindication and allowed us to compare our results with other studies carried out in other polluted areas in Europe. The highest contents of Cd were found in Agaricus arvensis Schff.: Fr. (117. mg/kg dw) and Agaricus silvicola L.: Fr. (67.9. mg/kg dw), while the highest contents of Pb were found in Macrolepiota procera (Scop.) Singer (53.8. mg/kg dw) and Lycoperdon perlatum Pers. (50. mg/kg dw), respectively. Considering the high contents of both metals in fruiting bodies of edible fungi, together with FAO/WHO directives on tolerable levels of weekly intake of Pb/Cd by humans, it is evident that consumption of some mushroom species originating from both study areas may pose a significant human health risk. A. arvensis Schff.: Fr., A. silvicola L.: Fr. and Cortinarius caperatus (Pers.) Fr. originating from the Šalek Valley, and Armillaria mellea Vahl. P. Kumm., Boletus edulis Bull., L. perlatum Pers., Leccinum versipelle (Fr. & Hök) Snell, and M. procera (Scop.) Singer originating from the Upper Meža Valley should not be consumed at all. Our findings are consistent with some other studies, which emphasized that mushrooms from heavily polluted areas, such as in the vicinity of smelters, accumulate extremely high amounts of metals, and should therefore be omitted from human consumption. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source


Al Sayegh Petkovsek S.,Ecological Research and Industrial Cooperation | Kopusar N.,Ecological Research and Industrial Cooperation | Tome D.,Slovenian National Institute of Biology | Krystufek B.,Natural History Museum of Slovenia
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015

Samples from receptor organisms (small mammals, passerine birds) and their food sources (herbaceous plants, leaves and fruits of wood plants, earthworms) were collected during 2011-2014 from the vicinity of a former lead smelter, from the vicinity of the largest Slovenian thermal power plant, from along a state road and also from a reference area. The samples were then analysed to determine the degree of contamination with the metals (Pb, Cd, Zn, Hg, Cu, Mo) and with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This study provides the first data on metal and PAH exposure to small mammals and passerine birds in southeast Europe, focussing on the transfer of metals and PAHs through the food chain and on risk assessment for differently polluted areas in Slovenia. The results indicate that: (i) earthworms and herbaceous plants (especially roots) can be a source of metal exposure for organisms higher in the food chain; (ii) a risk from Pb and Cd (HQ. >. 1) in the vicinity of the former lead smelter exists for Myodes glareolus feeding in part on roots and for Apodemus flavicollis and Parus major feeding in part on earthworms; and (iii) mean Pb and Cd concentrations in the liver of small mammal species inhabiting the vicinity of the lead smelter reach effect concentrations in a significant proportion of the specimens (Pb: 40%, Cd: 67%); (iv) the results for P. major confirm that the study area is exposed to Pb, Cd, Hg; (v) metals contribute the major part of the total risk for receptor organisms from vicinity of lead smelter. On the contrary, the risk of PAHs for small mammals trapped close to the state road is insignificant. We can summarize, that the hazards experienced by the local ecosystem due to metal exposure may persist for decades in the vicinity of large emission sources (especially smelters). © 2015 Elsevier B.V. Source


Jelenko I.,Ecological Research and Industrial Cooperation | Pokorny B.,Ecological Research and Industrial Cooperation
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2010

Roe deer antlers/mandibles are a useful tool for determination of ambient fluoride pollution. Antlers have a well-defined annual cycle of growth, therefore they represent a natural standardisation of samples during winter months. On the contrary, mandibles accumulate fluorides during the whole life of an organism, thus they reflect aggregated effect of fluoride pollution trough the life-span of an organism. Both tissues are easily available; mandibles are often systematically collected with the purpose of cognitive management and control, and antlers could be gathered from private well-dated hunters' collections.Considering these benefits, fluoride contents were measured in 141 antlers (period 1960-2007) and 220 mandibles (period 1997-2009) of roe deer, shot in the vicinity of the largest Slovene Thermal Power Plant of Šoštanj (ŠTPP) as one of the major sources of fluorides in Slovenia. Fluoride contents in antlers significantly differed among age categories, and ranged from 110 to 1210. mg/kg in yearlings, 130 to 2340. mg/kg in young adults, and 250 to 2590. mg/kg in older adults, respectively. Fluoride levels in mandibles were also significantly different among age categories, and ranged from 30.0 to 227. mg/kg in fawns, 33.8 to 383. mg/kg in yearlings, and 61.5 to 1020. mg/kg in adults, respectively.Comparison of these results with previously reported fluoride contents in antlers and mandibles of roe deer from different areas of Europe revealed that the study area has never been extensively contaminated with fluorides. Moreover, trends of fluoride contents in both tissues confirmed a significant decrease of fluoride pollution in the area after the years 1995 and 2000, when flue-gas cleaning devices were constructed on the ŠTPP. Indeed, highly positive correlations between annual emissions from the ŠTPP and mean annual fluoride contents in antlers/mandibles confirmed that both tissues may be a useful tool for assessing temporal trends in ambient fluoride pollution. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Source


Petkovsek S.A.S.,Ecological Research and Industrial Cooperation | Grudnik Z.M.,Ecological Research and Industrial Cooperation | Pokorny B.,Ecological Research and Industrial Cooperation
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2012

The study, which measured the concentrations of Hg, Pb, Cd, Zn and As in various fish tissues (muscle, gill and liver) of 10 fish species (Abramis brama danubii, Alburnus alburnus al-burnus, Barbus meridionalis petenyi, Carassius auratius gibelio, Cyprinus carpio, Lepomis gibossus, Leuciscius cephalus cephalus, Perca fluviatilis f luviatilis, Rutilus rutilus, Scardinus erythropht-lalmus erythrophtlalmus) collected in the Šalek lakes, is the first survey regarding metal concentrations in fish species with samples originating from Slovene lakes, while only a limited number of such studies have been carried out in southeastern Europe. Since these lakes are situated in the close vicinity of the largest Slovene thermal power plant, the study provides an insight into the potential impact of increased levels of metals in the environment as well as an estimate of the contamination of fish tissues with metals. Furthermore, it was possible to compare the results obtained with those from other studies regarding metal levels in freshwater fish species. The mean metal concentrations of different tissues irrespective of species varied in the following ranges: Zn 4.31-199 mg/kg ww, Pb 0.01-0.48 mg/kg ww, As 0.02-0.44 mg/kg ww, Hg <0.01-0.31 mg/kg ww, Cd < 0.01-0.19 mg/kg ww. In general, higher contents of Hg were found in muscles and livers than in gills and higher contents of As in gills and livers than in muscles, respectively. The accumulation of Pb and Zn was most pronounced in gills. The result obtained regarding metal concentrations in fish revealed that the ecosystems of the Šalek lakes are not polluted with Hg and Pb, slightly loaded with As and Cd and moderately polluted with Zn. In addition, the potential human health risk due to fish consumption was assessed. This showed that the estimated weekly intakes for all metals were far below provisional permissible tolerable weekly intakes determined by WHO/FAO. The consumption of fish from the Šalek lakes, therefore, does not pose a risk to human health. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011. Source

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