Contents of Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphorus in Antlers and Cranial Bones of the European Red Deer (Cervus Elaphus) from Different Regions in Western Poland
W. Nowicka, Z. Machoy, I. Gutowska, I. Nocen, S. Piotrowska, D. Chlubek
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Dept. of Biochemistry and Medical Chemistry, Pomeranian Medical University,
70-111 Szczecin, ul. Powstańców Wlkp. 72, Poland
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2006;15(2):297–301
Annual shedding of antlers by males is a characteristic feature of most deer species. Regrowth is very fast, reaching 2 cm/day for some species and making them an interesting model for studying tissue regeneration processes. The aim of this study was to compare the contents of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus in antlers and cranial bones of European red deer from Western Pomerania, Poland. We obtained 30 antlers from three forestry districts that differed in the extent of environmental pollution with fluorine compounds, SO2, NOx, CO, and CO2 (Trzebież, Rokita and Gryfino). Deer were assigned to two age groups: from 2 to 4 years, and from 6 to 8 years. Powdered samples of cranial bones and antler base obtained with a dental drill were dissolved in nitric acid. Calcium and magnesium contents were measured by atomic absorption spectroscopy, while phosphorus was determined colorimetrically. The content of calcium was higher in antlers - (mean 133.96 mg/g) hardly surprising given the higher calcified cartilage and immature bone content in antler as opposed to cranial bone (mean 123.79 mg/g). Phosphorus content was slightly higher in bones than in antlers (84.62 mg/g and 83.58 mg/g, respectively), which suggests that Ca:P ratios are different in the mineral phase or that there is more P in bone compared to the antler matrix. No difference in magnesium content was noted (5.23 to 5.46 mg/g). Statistical analysis revealed significant differences depending on age of the animal and level of industrial pollution in the animal's habitat.