[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and DDT and metabolites, was investigated in the soil-earthworm-hedgehog food chain. Concentrations of selected POPs were measured in soil and earthworms collected in grassland and open woodland and in hair and blood of hedgehogs foraging in two parks containing these habitats. Despite background concentrations in soil (ranging from 1.3 to 9.3 ng/g for DDTs, 2.3 to 6.5 ng/g for PCBs and 0.08 to 0.20 ng/g for PBDEs), biota-soil accumulation factors (BSAFs) indicated that earthworms accumulated POPs (0.48-1.70 for DDTs, 1.09-2.76 for PCBs and 1.99-5.67 for PBDEs) and that animals feeding on earthworms are potentially exposed to higher concentrations of pollutants. BSAFs decreased with increasing soil concentrations for the three groups of compounds, suggesting that steady-state equilibrium was not reached in soil or earthworms. Positive, but low, log-linear relationships were found for DDT (r(2)=0.23, p<0.05 for Brasschaat and r(2)=0.63, p<0.01 for Hoboken) and PCB (r(2)=0.13, p<0.05 for both parks) concentrations between soil and earthworms. In order to relate earthworm to hedgehog POP concentrations, the foraging behavior of each individual was taken into account. The use of hair as a potential biomonitoring tissue in exposure and risk assessment of POPs was evaluated by examining the relationship between PCB and p,p'-DDE levels in hedgehogs' hair and blood. Contaminant profiles were used to gain insight into biotransformation of the studied compounds in each step of the investigated food chain and in the blood of hedgehogs, as well as the consequences thereof for their incorporation in hair. The absence of a discernable relationship between POP concentrations in earthworms and hair is possible due to variation in individual foraging behavior and POP uptake. Our results suggest that POPs in tissues should be measured from an adequate number of individuals per population instead of relying on indirect estimates from levels in soil or prey items.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the contribution of environmental factors to the accumulation of As, Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn in earthworms, beetles and woodlice, and framed within an exposure assessment of the European hedgehog. Soil and invertebrate samples were collected in three distinct habitat types. Results showed habitat-specific differences in soil and invertebrate metal concentrations and bioaccumulation factors when normalized to soil metal concentration. Further multiple regression analysis showed residual variability (habitat differences) in bioaccumulation that could not be fully explained by differences in soil metal contamination, pH or organic carbon (OC). Therefore, the study demonstrated that in bioaccumulation studies involving terrestrial invertebrates or in risk assessment of metals, it is not sufficient to differentiate habitat types on general soil characteristics such as pH and/or OC alone. Furthermore, simple generic soil risk assessments for Cd and Cu showed that risk characterization was more accurate when performed in a habitat-specific way.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Hair has been proven to be suitable for non-destructive and non-invasive exposure assessments in human and mammal populations. A previous study with European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) showed that, for some metals, hair and spine metal concentrations were positively correlated to levels in liver, kidney and muscle. Although blood has been studied in a wide variety of species, the relationship between hair and blood metal concentrations has yet to be quantified in many mammalian species. Tissue concentrations from hedgehogs residing in a park with known metal pollution were compared with those from a reference park and correlations between contaminant levels in hair and blood, and spines and blood were studied. Moreover, the relative distribution of arsenic and metals in hair, spines and blood was determined. Elevated concentrations were found in hedgehogs residing in the polluted site for As (8.2 microg/g, 6.3 microg/g, 3.6 microg/ml), Cd (0.48 microg/g, 0.17 microg/g, 0.02 microg/ml) and Pb (7.6 microg/g, 7.3 microg/g, 54 microg/ml), in hair, spines and blood respectively. Positive correlations were identified for exposure levels between hair and blood as well as between spines and blood for three elements (As, Cd, and Pb), whereas a negative correlation was found between Cr concentrations in spines and blood. In conclusion, hair and spines can be used to monitor blood concentrations of some metals, although more data are needed on uptake from the food chain and on the incorporation dynamics of these contaminants.
Article · Feb 2009 · Science of The Total Environment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Few ecotoxicological studies on mammals use non-destructive methodologies, despite the growing ethical concern over the use of destructive sampling methods. In the present study we assessed exposure of hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethanes (DDTs), hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), by investigating concentrations of these compounds in soils and hedgehog hair from seven study sites around the urban area of Antwerp, Belgium. No relationships were observed between organochlorine compound concentrations in soils and hair from the different study areas. Furthermore, the individual variation of contamination levels in hair within study sites was high, especially for HCHs and HCB, and hair and soil had different relative profiles for PCBs, DDTs and HCHs. Our results show that concentrations of organochlorine compounds in soils alone are not predictive of the risk of these pollutants to hedgehogs and that tissue analyses are preferred to soil analyses in exposure and risk assessment studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The role of hair and spines of the European hedgehog as non-destructive monitoring tools of metal (Ag, Al, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, Zn) and As pollution in terrestrial ecosystems was investigated. Our results showed that mean pollution levels of a random sample of hedgehogs in Flanders are low to moderate. Yet, individual hedgehogs may be at risk for metal toxicity. Tissue distribution analyses (hair, spines, liver, kidney, muscle and fat tissue) indicated that metals and As may reach considerable concentrations in external tissues, such as hair and spines. Positive relationships were observed between concentrations in hair and those in liver, kidney and muscle for Al, Co, Cr, Cu, and Pb (0.43 < r < 0.85). Spine concentrations were positively related to liver, kidney and muscle concentrations for Cd, Co, Cr, Cu and Pb (0.37 < r < 0.62). Hair Ag, As, Fe and Zn and spine Ag, Al, As and Fe were related to metal concentrations in one or two of the investigated internal tissues (0.31 < r < 0.45). The regression models presented here may be used to predict metal and As concentrations in internal tissues of hedgehogs when concentrations in hair or spines are available. The present study demonstrated the possibility of using hair and spines for non-destructive monitoring of metal and As pollution in hedgehogs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Concentrations of organochlorine persistent pollutants were investigated in tissues of the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). Road kills and carcasses from wildlife rescue centers were used to characterize organochlorine compound tissue distribution and tissue profile dissimilarities (hair, liver, kidney, muscle, and adipose tissue). The most important contaminants were polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlordanes (CHLs), and DDTs, with median concentrations of 75, 5.1, and 1.4 ng/g liver wet weight, respectively. Median levels for the remaining compounds-hexachlorobenzene (HCB), hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs), and octachlorostyrene-were less than 0.5 ng/g liver wet weight. Compared to results with other mammalian wildlife, the present results indicate that hedgehogs may accumulate considerable concentrations of organochlorine compounds. Polychlorinated biphenyls and HCB preferably accumulated in liver and muscle tissue. Concentrations of DDTs and HCHs were highest in muscle tissue and hair, respectively. Octachlorostyrene and CHL levels were predominant in liver. The observed positive relationships between concentrations in hair and internal tissues for PCBs, DDTs, HCB, HCHs, and CHLs (0.49 < r < 0.91) and for several individual PCB, DDT, and CHL compounds (0.31 < r < 0.76) indicate the usefulness of hair as a biomonitoring tool of organochlorine compounds. Multivariate profile analyses revealed a higher dominance of less-persistent compounds (p,p'-DDT, alpha-HCH, and PCBs 95, 101, and 149) in hair compared to internal tissues. The present study demonstrates the suitability of hedgehog hair as a nondestructive biomonitoring tool regarding pollution with organochlorine compounds and the promising role of the hedgehog as a mammalian indicator species of pollution in terrestrial environments.
Article · Feb 2006 · Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Conventional metal exposure assessment in terrestrial mammals is generally based on organ analyses of sacrificed animals. Few studies on mammals use nondestructive methodologies despite the growing ethical concern over the use of destructive sampling. Nondestructive methods involve minimal stress to populations and permit successive biomonitoring of the same populations and individuals. In the present study we assessed metal exposure of hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) by investigating relationships between concentrations of metals (Ag, Al, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn) and As in soil samples and in hair and spines of hedgehogs. Samples were collected in seven study sites along a metal pollution gradient, characterized by decreasing total soil Ag, As, Cd, Cu, Ni, and Pb concentrations with increasing distance from a nonferrous metallurgic factory. For a number of elements, soil contamination was related both to distance to the smelter and to habitat. Soil concentrations were positively related to levels in hair and spines for Ag, As, Cd, and Pb and thus to hedgehog exposure. Metal concentrations in soil did not relate to metal concentrations in hair and spines for essential elements (e.g., Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, and Zn), except Co in hair and soil. Our results demonstrate that, at least for nonessential elements, concentrations in soils can be used to predict contamination of these elements in hedgehogs or vice versa. Furthermore, hedgehog exposure increased toward the smelter and was higher for hedgehogs foraging in grasslands than for animals foraging in the forest. Moreover, we believe that hair and spines are promising tools in terrestrial wildlife exposure assessment studies of metals and As.
Article · Oct 2005 · Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Few data are available on brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in terrestrial mammalian wildlife. Moreover, the use of hair in nondestructive monitoring of BFRs in mammals or humans has not been investigated. In the present study, concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and brominated biphenyl 153 (BB 153) were analyzed in tissues of the European hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus. Road kills and carcasses from wildlife rescue centers were used to investigate relationships between concentrations of BFRs in hair and internal tissues, BFR tissue distribution (hair, liver, kidney, muscle, and adipose tissue), and PBDE congener tissue pattern dissimilarities. Liver concentrations of PBDEs and BB 153 were in the ranges 1-1178 and 0-2.5 ng/g of liver wet weight, respectively. PBDEs were predominant in adipose tissue and liver, while accumulation of BB 153 was tissue independent. The less persistent compound BDE 99 was more dominant in hair than in internal tissues. We observed positive relationships between BFR levels in hair and internal tissues for sum PBDEs and BDE 47 (0.37 < r < 0.78). The present study demonstrated that hair is a suitable indicator of PBDE exposure in terrestrial mammals which can be used in nondestructive monitoring schemes.
Article · Sep 2005 · Environmental Science and Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Various hypotheses have been proposed in order to explain self-anointing in hedgehogs, but until now its function is still
poorly understood. In order to obtain a better understanding of self-anointing, we investigated whether this behaviour is
gender, age and seasonal dependent in seven European hedgehogErinaceus europaeus Linnaeus, 1758 populations. Signs of self-anointing were observed in more than 11% of all observations. First-year independent
young were found to self-anoint more than adults, while male hedgehogs bore more signs of self-anointing than females. Self-anointing
in adults displayed a peak in summertime, while no clear pattern was observed for young. We conclude that self-anointing is
clearly dependent on gender, age and season.