Essential and non-essential elements in eight tissue types from subsistencehunted bowhead whale: Nutritional and toxicological assessment

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O´Hara, Todd M. ; Hanns, Cyd ; Bratton, Gerald ; Taylor, Robert ; Woshner, Victoria M. (2012)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X, eissn: 1239-9736)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v65i3.18108
  • Subject: Balaena mysticetus, bowhead whale, cadmium, elements, nutrients, subsistence

Objectives. To assess essential/non-essential elements in bowhead whale. Study Design. Analyzes of tissues for key elements and comparing them to published food guidelines. Methods. Using national and international guidelines calculate percent (%) “Recommended Daily Allowance” of essential elements in 100 g portion of bowhead tissues. For non-essential elements, determine maximal tissue consumption based on average element concentrations and provisional tolerable weekly intake; and minimal risk level. Results. Liver and kidney are rich in essential/non-essential elements and have the greatest concentration of cadmium (Cd) among tissues studied, while mercury (Hg), lead (Pb) and arsenic (As) are relatively low. Kidney of bowhead whale is consumed in very limited amounts (limited tissue mass compared to muscle and maktak); liver is consumed rarely. Other tissues, except blubber, are excellent sources of many essential elements, without the abundance of liver and kidney Cd. Conclusions. Renal Cd concentrations are most restrictive for consumption on a tissue mass basis. Better understanding of Cd bioavailability, food processing, and actual consumption rates and patterns, are critical to providing improved guidance. Compared to store-bought meat, bowhead whale had comparable concentrations of elements in the tissues studied, with a few noted differences. The occasional blubber substitute, Crisco, was nearly devoid of trace element content.(Int J Circumpolar Health 2006:65(3):228-242.)Keywords: Balaena mysticetus, bowhead whale, cadmium, elements, nutrients, subsistence
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