Element concentrations in the archiacanthocephalan Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus compared with those in the porcine host from a slaughterhouse in La Paz, Bolivia.
Concentrations of lead and cadmium, determined by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry, and concentrations of the elements barium, cadmium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, nickel, lead, selenium and strontium, determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, in the acanthocephalan Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus and its porcine final host, sampled at a slaughterhouse in La Paz, Bolivia, were compared. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry analysis revealed that most of the elements were found at higher concentrations in the acanthocephalan than in different tissues of its host. The bioconcentration of elements in M. hirudinaceus compared with the host intestine, listed in order of decreasing values, was as follows: Cd > Pb > Ni > Sr = Cu > Mg > Se > Fe = Mn = Ba. Analysis by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry showed that M. hirudinaceus contained 85, 85, 56 and 24 times higher lead levels compared with hosts muscle, liver, kidney and intestine, respectively. The mean cadmium concentration of the parasite was 32 times higher than that of the liver and five times higher compared with porcine kidney. The metal distribution within the body of M. hirudinaceus was as follows: cement gland > testes > lemnisci > eggs = tegument for lead and lemnisci > testes > cement gland > tegument > eggs for cadmium. Therefore, the hypothesis that parasites excrete toxic metals with the shells of their eggs seems not to be valid for M. hirudinaceus. It is concluded, that not only eoacanthocephalans and palaeacanthocephalans parasitising fish, but also archiacanthocephalans from mammalian hosts, are able to bioaccumulate metals.
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