Reports

Selenium: Relation to Decreased Toxicity of Methylmercury Added to Diets Containing Tuna

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Science  10 Mar 1972:
Vol. 175, Issue 4026, pp. 1122-1124
DOI: 10.1126/science.175.4026.1122

Abstract

Japanese quail given 20 parts per million of mercury as methylmercury in diets containing 17 percent (by weight) tuna survived longer than quail given this concentration of methylmercury in a corn-soya diet. Tuna has a relatively high content of selenium and tends to accumulate additional selenium when mercury is present. A content of selenium in the diet comparable to that supplied by tuna decreased methylmercury toxicity in rats. Selenium in tuna, far from being a hazard in itself, may lessen the danger to man of mercury in tuna.

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