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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Concentrations of cadmium, lead, arsenic, and some essential metals in wild boar from Sweden

Malmsten, Anna; Dalin, Anne-Marie; Pettersson, Jean; Persson, Sara


The wild boar (Sus scrofa) is becoming more common in Europe and has potential to be used as sentinel species for local contamination of heavy metals. Concentrations of nine trace elements (arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), lead (Pb), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), selenium (Se), and zinc (Zn)) were examined in kidney tissue of 104 female wild boars hunted at three sites in Sweden. The interrelationships between the trace elements and age dependency were investigated. Reproductive health was previously known to differ among animals at the different study sites, but could not be explained by heavy metal concentrations and no associations were found between heavy metals and reproductive parameters. Kidney concentrations of Cd (mean 4.16 mg/kg wet weight (w.w.), range 0.16-12.8) were higher than the permissible level for human consumption in 99.9% of the samples. Pb concentrations were generally intermediate or low (mean 0.14 mg/kg w.w., range 0.03-1.01) and exceeded the levels accepted for human consumption in 0.02% of the samples. Age class was significantly associated with the concentrations of Cd, Mg, and Mn. Concentrations of As were low (mean 0.02 mg/kg w.w., range <0.0001-0.08) and Cu and Se concentrations were within the ranges of suspected deficiency for 10% and 4% of the wild boars, respectively.


Cd; Pb; Wild boar; Wildlife toxicology; Heavy metals; Hazard; risk assessment

Published in

European Journal of Wildlife Research
2021, Volume: 67, number: 2, article number: 18
Publisher: SPRINGER