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Levels of Copper, Selenium, Lead, and Cadmium in Forager Bees
Adam Roman
 
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Department of Animal Hygiene and Environment,
Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Science,
Chełmońskiego 38C, 51-630 Wrocław, Poland
 
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2010;19(3):663–669
 
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ABSTRACT
The aim of this study was to determine levels of trace metals (Cu, Se, Pb and Cd) in bodies of forager bees. The study was conducted in 14 stationary apiaries situated in southeastern Opole Province (Poland) in autumn 2007 and in spring, summer and autumn 2008. Samples were mineralized using microwave method. Quantitative analysis of studied metals in bees’ bodies and multiflower honey were done using the plasma spectrometry method (ICP).
It was found that copper was an element present in bodies of worker bees in the highest concentration. Its mean content was 22.6 mg·kg-1 d.m. Next was selenium – 7.03, lead – 1.95 and cadmium – 0.65 mg·kg-1 d.m. The highest level of Cu, Pb and Cd accumulation (means on a level of 24.5, 2.59 and 0.83 mg·kg-1 d.m., respectively) was observed in samples of bees obtained during spring 2008, and of selenium in autumn 2008. The lowest concentration of Pb and Cd (means on a level of 0.95 and 0.46 mg·kg-1 d.m., respectively) were in turn observed in autumn 2008, Cu (20.6 mg·kg-1 d.m.) in autumn 2007, and Se (5.81 mg·kg-1 d.m.) in spring 2008. In most cases, the differences in contents of particular metals between periods of sample collection were significant (p≤0.05) or highly significant (p≤0.01) statistically.
Higher concentrations of copper (23.3 in comparison to 22.0 mg·kg-1 d.m.), selenium (7.58 in comparison to 6.48 mg·kg-1 d.m.), and lead (1.98 in comparison to 1.91 mg·kg-1 d.m.) were demonstrated in bees from urbanized regions, while cadmium (0.70 in comparison to 0.60 mg·kg-1 d.m.) in those from agricultural-woodland.
The sequence of the range of analyzed metals accumulation in honey was the same as in the case of bees, but concentrations were manyfold lower: Cu – 0.82, Se – 0.38, Pb – 0.06 and Cd – 0.06 mg·kg-1 d.m). Any significant relationships between the content of particular elements in honey and bees were demonstrated.
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