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Non-invasive biomonitoring of polar bear feces can be used to estimate concentrations of metals of concern in traditional food.


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Eccles, Kristin M. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6629-430X; Boutet, Vincent; Branigan, Marsha; Dyck, Markus; van Coeverden de Groot, Peter; Lougheed, Stephen C.; Rutter, Allison et Langlois, Valérie S. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4031-6838 (2024). Non-invasive biomonitoring of polar bear feces can be used to estimate concentrations of metals of concern in traditional food. PLOS ONE , vol. 19 , nº 6. e0305398. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0305398.

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The Arctic faces increasing exposure to environmental chemicals such as metals, posing health risks to humans and wildlife. Biomonitoring of polar bears ( Ursus maritimus ) can be used to quantify chemicals in the environment and in traditional foods consumed by the Inuit. However, typically, these samples are collected through invasive or terminal methods. The biomonitoring of feces could be a useful alternative to the current metal monitoring method within the Arctic. Here, we aim to 1) quantify the relationship between concentrations of metals in the feces and tissues (muscle, liver, and fat) of polar bears using predictive modeling, 2) develop an easy-to-use conversion tool for use in community-based monitoring programs to non-invasively estimate contaminant concentrations in polar bears tissues and 3) demonstrate the application of these models by examining potential exposure risk for humans from consumption of polar bear muscle. Fecal, muscle, liver, and fat samples were harvested from 49 polar bears through a community-based monitoring program. The samples were analyzed for 32 metals. Exploratory analysis indicated that mean metal concentrations generally did not vary by age or sex, and many of the metals measured in feces were positively correlated with the internal tissue concentration. We developed predictive linear regression models between internal (muscle, liver, fat) and external (feces) metal concentrations and further explored the mercury and methylmercury relationships for utility risk screening. Using the cross-validated regression coefficients, we developed a conversion tool that contributes to the One Health approach by understanding the interrelated health of humans, wildlife, and the environment in the Arctic. The findings support using feces as a biomonitoring tool for assessing contaminants in polar bears. Further research is needed to validate the developed models for other regions in the Arctic and assess the impact of environmental weathering on fecal metal concentrations.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: animals; arctic regions; biological monitoring; environmental monitoring; environmental pollutants; feces; female; food contamination; humans; liver; male; metals; ursidae
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 10 juill. 2024 13:35
Dernière modification: 10 juill. 2024 13:35
URI: https://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/15841

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