Water pollution by Cu and Pb can adversely affect mallard embryonic development

Virág Kertész, Gábor Bakonyi, Beáta Farkas

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of heavy metal pollutants on aquatic birds have been widely studied in ecotoxicological investigations; however, the predominant focus has been on the postnatal period of life. Limited information on the adverse effects of metals to bird eggs is available. The possible toxic effects of lead and copper were studied in mallard eggs. After the accidental severe heavy metal pollution of the Tisa river (Hungary) in March 2000, these metals were detected in the highest concentration in both the water and the sediment, reaching far beyond acceptable concentrations. Pb treatment (2.9 mg/L) significantly increased the rate of mortality after a single immersion of the eggs into polluted water for 30 min. The rate of dead embryos significantly increased after the combined exposure to Cu and Pb (0.86 and 2.9 mg/L, respectively) both in the single- (once for 30 min) and in the multiple- (10 s daily during first trimester of incubation) immersion groups. It was concluded that elevated metal concentrations similar to those found in the Tisa river after the tailing dam failure may cause toxic effects (mortality and teratogenicity) upon exposure of mallard eggs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006



  • Copper
  • Development
  • Developmental anomaly
  • Lead
  • Mallard
  • Mortality
  • Pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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