Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2006


The effect of Hg and PCBs (Aroclor 1268) on bone characteristics was investigated in a population of Clapper Rails (Rallus longirostris) inhabiting contaminated and unimpacted estuarine marsh systems in coastal Georgia. Exposure to contaminants did not affect the length or weight of leg bones, but it significantly altered the chemical composition of the bone. Specifically, bone in the contaminated site had a higher Ca to P, and lower carbonate and acid phosphate content. These characteristics are typical of more mature bone mineral and indicate that toxicants have accelerated bone maturation. FTIR spectroscopy data revealed a dose dependent change in the crystallinity of bone mineral, and the relative proportion of specific PO4 groups in different molecular environments in the bone, with toxicants loads. These changes are most probably related to a hormonal alteration of the rate of bone remodelation induced by exposure to toxicant loads.


This research was originally published in Environ. Sci. Technol. 2006, 40, 4936-4942

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