Publications by authors named "Leszek Jerzak"

31 Publications

Does Traditional Feeding of Outdoor Guard Dogs Provide a Food Resource for Wild Mammals and Birds?

Animals (Basel) 2021 Apr 22;11(5). Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Department of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 71 C, 60-625 Poznań, Poland.

Access to food is crucial in the life of birds and affects reproduction, survival and, consequently, population size. In the case of bird species inhabiting villages, poorer food conditions now exist, mainly because of changes in the lifestyle of rural residents and a reduction in the number of farm animals traditionally housed in backyards. Recent changes have also affected dog populations in villages, and the majority of them are no longer kept outside as guard dogs, but rather inside houses as pets. We investigated how traditional care of dogs impacted rural birds and other animal populations. The study was carried out at the end of winter and early spring in 29 farmsteads in western Poland. Using camera traps, it was found that the food fed to dogs was also taken by seven species of birds and at least three species of mammals. The most numerous species taking dog food was the house sparrow, , which is declining in Europe. In the case of this species, females were more likely than males to use food given to dogs, with a clear preference for food prepared in the human kitchen. We conclude that the food provided to domestic pets can be an important component of the diet of wild birds and mammals living close to humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani11051198DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8143549PMC
April 2021

Could mycotoxigenic Fusarium sp. play a role in ulcerative dermal necrosis (UDN) of brown trout (Salmo trutta morpha trutta)?

Mycotoxin Res 2020 Aug 5;36(3):311-318. Epub 2020 May 5.

Department of Nature Protection, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Zielona Gora, ul. Prof. Z. Szafrana 1, 65-516, Zielona Gora, Poland.

Fusarium infections have been reported in aquatic animals, but are still poorly investigated in wild salmonids. The aim of the study was to determine the impact of the fungi and their toxins on the health status of brown trout (Salmo trutta morpha trutta) migrating from the Baltic Sea to the freshwater. Individuals from the wild brown trout population exhibiting ulcerative skin lesions were collected from the Słupia River in Poland and subjected to microbiological, histopathological, and hematological examinations, as well as toxicological analysis for a presence of mycotoxins. The results of microflora isolation from the brown trout skin samples revealed the presence of conditionally pathogenic bacteria and fungi classified by molecular techniques as Fusarium spp. Toxicological analysis allowed for detection of zearalenone (ZEN) in the liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract of the fish. In several cases, there was α-zearalenone (α-ZEL) identified at trace levels in the liver, as well as sterigmatocystin and enniatin B at low levels in the kidney and the liver. Histopathological examination revealed the presence of fungal hyphae disrupting the epidermis and penetrating into the necrotic dermis and hypodermis. The decreased values of the blood parameters, i.e., hemoglobin concentration (HGB), packed cell volume (PCV), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and white blood cell count (WBC), were indicative of osmoregulation failure being a consequence of the skin damage. The results of the study provide new information regarding Fusarium sp. infection in brown trout and serve as the basis for further research on the potential impact of the fungi and their mycotoxins on the Baltic salmonid population, including their role in ulcerative dermal necrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12550-020-00395-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7359170PMC
August 2020

Infected Ixodes ricinus ticks are attracted by electromagnetic radiation of 900 MHz.

Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2020 07 19;11(4):101416. Epub 2020 Mar 19.

Institute of Biology and Ecology, Pavol Jozef Safarik University in Kosice, Srobarova 2, 041 80 Kosice, Slovakia. Electronic address:

The electromagnetic field (EMF) is known to influence functions of the nervous, cardiovascular and reproductive systems of many animals, including ticks. The aim of this study was to test the behavior of ticks in the presence of radio-frequency EMF. For testing, 160 adult male and 140 adult female unfed Ixodes ricinus ticks were used. Individuals were exposed to 900 MHz EMF in the Radiation-Shielded Tube (RST). Ticks were attracted to the irradiated area. This effect was significantly stronger for ticks infected with Rickettsia spp., suggesting that pathogens can alter the ticks' response to environmental stimuli. These results lead to the question of whether man-made EMF may have an impact on I. ricinus activity and, as such, be a contributing factor to the ongoing changes in the distribution of the tick and its pathogens currently observed in Europe and elsewhere.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2020.101416DOI Listing
July 2020

Low Occurrence of in Gulls and Songbirds.

Pol J Microbiol 2020 ;69:1-6

Robert Koch Institute , Wernigerode Branch, Wernigerode , Germany.

is a worldwide occurring nosocomial pathogen, the natural habitats of which remain to be defined. Recently, white stork nestlings have been described as a recurring source of . Here, we challenged the hypothesis of a general preference of for avian hosts. Taking advantage of campaigns to ring free-living birds, we collected cloacal swab samples from 741 black-headed gulls () in Poland, tracheal and cloacal swabs from 285 songbirds in Poland as well as tracheal swabs from 25 songbirds in Slovenia and screened those for the growth of on CHROMagar Acinetobacter. Of the 1,051 samples collected only two yielded isolates. Each carried one variant of the gene, i.e. OXA-71 and OXA-208, which have been described previously in clinical isolates of . In conclusion, our data do not support a general preference of for avian hosts.

is a worldwide occurring nosocomial pathogen, the natural habitats of which remain to be defined. Recently, white stork nestlings have been described as a recurring source of . Here, we challenged the hypothesis of a general preference of for avian hosts. Taking advantage of campaigns to ring free-living birds, we collected cloacal swab samples from 741 black-headed gulls () in Poland, tracheal and cloacal swabs from 285 songbirds in Poland as well as tracheal swabs from 25 songbirds in Slovenia and screened those for the growth of on CHROMagar Acinetobacter. Of the 1,051 samples collected only two yielded isolates. Each carried one variant of the gene, i.e. OXA-71 and OXA-208, which have been described previously in clinical isolates of . In conclusion, our data do not support a general preference of for avian hosts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.33073/pjm-2020-011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7256842PMC
December 2020

Tanopicobia gen. nov., a new genus of quill mites, its phylogenetic placement in the subfamily Picobiinae (Acariformes: Syringophilidae) and picobiine relationships with avian hosts.

PLoS One 2020 15;15(1):e0225982. Epub 2020 Jan 15.

Laboratory and Museum of Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Ecology, Faculty of Humanities and Natural Sciences, University of Presov, Prešov, Slovakia.

A new monotypic genus Tanopicobia gen. nov. is established for a new species Tanopicobia trachyphoni sp. nov., parasitizing Trachyphonus erythrocephalus Cabanis, 1878 (Piciformes: Lybiidae) from Tanzania. In phylogenetic analyses based on morphological data and constructed using the maximum parsimony approach, this taxon falls within the subfamily Picobiinae Johnston and Kethley, 1973 in the Neopicobia-species-group as closely related to the genus Pipicobia Glowska and Schmidt, 2014. Tanopicobia differs from Pipicobia by the following features in females: genital setae absent; setae ve are situated far and posteromedial to the level of setal bases vi; setae 3a are thick and knobbed. Additionally, a new generic key for subfamily Picobiinae is constructed and general host-parasite ecological and phylogenetic relationships are discussed. Picobiines are present in several lineages of neoavian birds, from basal Galloanseres to terminal Telluraves, which are infested by 70 (89.7% of all) species of these ectoparasites.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0225982PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6961858PMC
April 2020

The impact of mobilization on hip osteoarthritis.

J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil 2020 ;33(5):817-822

Department of Physiotherapy and Wellness, Institute of Health Sciences, Pomeranian University in Słupsk, 76-200 Słupsk, Poland.

Background: Osteoarthritis is one of the most common joint disorders. It causes pain, stiffness and a decreased range of motion which have a significant impact on daily activities and gait, consequently leading to disability.

Objective: The aim of this study is to compare hip mobilization with non-weight bearing exercises.

Methods: A total of 57 females aged between 55-65 were divided into 2 groups. In the control group non-weight bearing exercises were conducted, whereas the research group received hip mobilization.

Results: The Lequesne index significantly improved in the research group as compared with the control group. Hip function improved both in the control and research groups. Active hip extension increased by 0.54, while active abduction rose by 2.14 after non-weight bearing exercises. In the control group after mobilization both passive and active hip extension increased significantly by 3.53, active abduction by 5 and passive by 4.41, while active and passive internal rotation by 3.82 and 4.56, respectively. In both groups pain decreased.

Conclusions: Mobilization increases hip range of motion, decreases pain and improves hip function more than non-weight bearing exercises.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/BMR-181118DOI Listing
February 2021

Do agricultural environments increase the reproductive success of White Stork Ciconia ciconia populations in South-Western Poland?

Sci Total Environ 2020 Feb 2;702:134503. Epub 2019 Nov 2.

Nicolaus Copernicus University, Department of Ecology and Biogeography, Lwowska St. 1, PL 87-100 Toruń, Poland. Electronic address:

As populations of White Stork Ciconia ciconia have decreased at different rates in Europe, the specific environmental drivers that influence breeding success are a matter of controversy. Here we use body size, blood, and environmental data of a total of 1226 stork nestlings of different ages from a total of 363 nests in three different habitats (meadows, forest-edges, open agricultural landscapes) in S-W Poland to ask whether: 1) natural grassland environments increase the reproductive output in comparison with agricultural landscapes, 2) nestlings from agricultural landscapes differ in health status from nestlings in more natural habitats, 3) differences in environmental stress translate into respective differences in reproductive output and health status of nestlings. There was no significant difference in age corrected body mass and in the temporal increase in nestling mass between the study sites. Clutch sizes were highest and age corrected total clutch mass lowest at the meadow sites while agricultural and woodland sites did not significantly differ. Hemoglobin and red blood cell content were lowest and white blood cell and blood antioxidant concentrations were highest in the meadows indicating higher degrees of environmental stressors. These blood parameters varied strongly among study years. Our study does not confirm that agricultural landscapes are less suited for stork breeding success. We even find some indication of a better health status of nestlings in agricultural environments that might compensate smaller clutch sizes. Our data indicate that reproductive output is multifaceted. As we found some indication of a trade-off between clutch size and health status we argue that only multiple metrics of reproductive success are able to assess the long-term effect of habitat choice on fitness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134503DOI Listing
February 2020

Ticks (Acari: Ixodida) on birds (Aves) migrating through the Polish Baltic coast.

Exp Appl Acarol 2019 Feb 15;77(2):241-251. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Zielona Góra, Prof. Z. Szafrana Str. 1, 65-516, Zielona Góra, Poland.

Seasonal bird (Aves) migration between breeding and wintering areas, often located on different continents, can facilitate the spreading of tick species (Acari: Ixodida) and of tick-borne pathogens. The aim of the study was to analyse the occurrence of ticks dispersed by birds migrating along the Polish Baltic coast during spring and autumn migration. Field research was conducted at the bird ringing station in Wicie, located on the middle of the Polish Baltic coast, in 2011 and 2012 during spring and autumn migration. A total of 2657 birds from 45 species was examined. The most common species inspected were European robin (Erithacus rubecula) (63.3%), song thrush (Turdus philomelos) (5.13%), and goldcrest (Regulus regulus) (4.5%). Overall, 3129 ticks belonging to six species were collected: Ixodes ricinus (1650 larvae, 1390 nymphs and 1 male), Ixodes frontalis (20 larvae, 20 nymphs), Ixodes arboricola (35 larvae), Dermacentor reticulatus (1 larva), and Haemaphysalis punctata (1 nymph). Ten larvae and one nymph could only be identified to the genus level Ixodes. Ticks were located on various parts of the head: on the corner of the beak (75.0%), near the eyes (14.6%), on the chin (4.4%), near the ears (4.4%), on the neck (1.1%), and in the beak (0.5%). The overall tick prevalence was 40.5%. The highest prevalence was for bird species feeding on the ground, covering a medium distance to wintering grounds and migrating at night. Statistically significant differences between the number of ticks and the sex of the host species were detected in blackbirds: males carried more parasites than females, both, during spring and autumn migration. The fact that I. ricinus and other ticks parasitize birds migrating through Poland extends the possibility of the spread of tick-borne diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10493-019-00341-zDOI Listing
February 2019

Data exploration on diet, and composition, energy value and functional division of prey items ingested by White Storks in south-western Poland: Dietary variation due to land cover, reproductive output and colonial breeding.

Data Brief 2018 Dec 24;21:1186-1203. Epub 2018 Oct 24.

Ecology Department, Institute of Biology and Biochemistry, Lublin, Poland.

The dataset presented in this data paper supports "Linking land cover satellite data with dietary variation and reproductive output in an opportunistic forager: Arable land use can boost an ontogenetic trophic bottleneck in the White Stork ciconia" (Orłowski et al. 2019) [1]. Analysis of data on diet and prey composition based on an investigation of 165 pellets of White Storks sampled from 52 nests showed that their diet was based primarily on 'eurytopic prey' (embracing taxa from grassland and a variety of non-cropped habitats), the biomass contribution of which in the diet was disproportionately (3-4-fold) higher than the percentage of available corresponding habitats. Similarly, prey items from water/wetland sites prevailed over the availability of corresponding habitats. The opposite pattern characterized prey taxa from arable habitats and forests, the contribution of which was lower than the availability of the corresponding habitats. The total energy content per pellet (calculated by summing the energy content of all individual prey items across one specific prey group) was the most strongly correlated with the biomass of Orthoptera, thereafter with that of mammals, other vertebrates, earthworms and other invertebrates, but not with the biomass of Coleoptera. White Storks from nests of low productivity pairs (i.e. with 1-2 fledglings) consumed a significantly (up to two-fold) higher biomass of Coleoptera, Orthoptera and all invertebrates, which also translated into a higher total biomass and a higher total energy content compared to the diet of high-productivity pairs (i.e. with 3-4 fledglings). Our data, in particular those relating to energy content in a variety of invertebrate taxa, and their body mass and functional division in terms of habitat preferences should be useful for other researchers to calculate energy budgets of predatory animals living in agricultural landscapes in Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2018.10.064DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6230975PMC
December 2018

Linking land cover satellite data with dietary variation and reproductive output in an opportunistic forager: Arable land use can boost an ontogenetic trophic bottleneck in the White Stork Ciconia ciconia.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Jan 21;646:491-502. Epub 2018 Jul 21.

Ecology Department, Institute of Biology and Biochemistry, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Akademicka 19, 20-033 Lublin, Poland.

Determining how the progressive loss of resources due to agricultural intensification and habitat degradation affect individual fitness and population persistence is a matter of urgency. Here we explored three major questions in order to extend knowledge of the relationship between reproduction rate, diet and energy intake in White Storks Ciconia ciconia based both on our own analysis of pellets and landscape properties sampled in 52 nests in south-western Poland, and published literature data. (1) How many individual prey items are needed to meet the daily energy requirements of nestlings over the brood rearing period? (2) How do the dietary patterns vary under different habitat conditions and what is the spatial scale responsible for these relationships? (3) Is reproductive output related to variations in landscape traits, and is diet variability related to intraspecific competition resulting from colonial breeding? In our estimation, the energy requirements of nestlings during the brood rearing period showed that the most profitable invertebrate prey items were Orthoptera and earthworms. Owing to the nestlings' gape-size constraint (precluding consumption of vertebrate prey items of the size of Common Voles), these most likely comprise the staple diet enabling survival during the first 20 days of life. The total energy content across all the pellets was a simple function (a negative correlation) of %arable land within a distance of 5 km around the nests. White Storks from nests of high-productivity pairs (with 3-4 fledglings and less %arable around) consumed equal %biomasses of invertebrate and vertebrate prey, while invertebrates prevailed in the diet of the low-productivity pairs. Our results suggest that a two-level ontogenetic trophic bottleneck may explain the low productivity of White Stork pairs in simplified landscapes with predominant arable land use. As a result of this, parent birds are unable to satisfy the growing energy demands of nestlings (1) by gathering a sufficient volume of abundant small-sized prey (early nestlings) and (2) by delivering energetically more profitable vertebrate prey at the time of the diet switch.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.297DOI Listing
January 2019

Human Sperm Characteristics with Regard to Cobalt, Chromium, and Lead in Semen and Activity of Catalase in Seminal Plasma.

Biol Trace Elem Res 2019 Apr 29;188(2):251-260. Epub 2018 Jun 29.

Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Faculty of Pharmacy, Chair and Department of Biopharmacy, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, dr. A. Jurasz St. 2, PL, 85-089, Bydgoszcz, Poland.

We analyzed cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), and lead (Pb) concentrations in human semen and catalase CAT activity in seminal plasma and the effects of their relations on the sperm quality. We obtained semen samples from men (n = 168) undergoing routine infertility evaluation. Studies included two groups based on the ejaculate parameters: I (n = 39; normal ejaculate; normozoospermia); II (n = 129; pathological spermiogram). We examined relationships and differences between Co, Cr, and Pb concentrations in seminal plasma, CAT activity, and semen parameters. We did not establish differences in Co, Cr, and Pb concentrations and CAT activity from men between normozoospermic and those with pathological spermiogram. We found a significantly lower Co concentration and CAT activity in males with normal sperm motility than in asthenozoospermic males. We found significantly lower Co and a higher Pb concentration in males with normal morphology of spermatozoa than in teratozoospermic males. We found a significantly higher Pb concentration in the individuals with consumption of alcohol than in those without consumption. There were significant correlations between Co and Pb concentrations, sperm progressive motility (A + B, i.e., fast and slow progressive motility; Co-negatively; Pb-positively), and normal morphology of spermatozoa (Co-negatively; Pb-positively). We found a significant negative correlation between Cr concentration and slow progressive motility, and between CAT activity and volume of ejaculate. Co, Cr, and Pb levels and CAT activity were related to sperm characteristics and male fertility. The impact of alcohol may be manifested by a disturbance in Pb equilibrium in the body. Co and Pb influence progressive motility and normal morphology of human spermatozoa. Thus, Co and Pb levels in semen may be a useful diagnostic in male infertility. Most of the results of this study are in contrast to expectations. Namely, Pb is a toxic element and its harmful effects (poor semen quality) may be expected already at relatively low level of Pb exposure and are particularly visible with increasing of Pb. Co and Cr(III) are essential elements and harmful effects may be expected at their deficiency and/or overexposure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12011-018-1416-9DOI Listing
April 2019

Escape behaviour of birds in urban parks and cemeteries across Europe: Evidence of behavioural adaptation to human activity.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Aug 16;631-632:803-810. Epub 2018 Mar 16.

Institute of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 71C, PL-60-625 Poznań, Poland.

Urban environments are very heterogeneous, and birds living in the proximity of humans have to adapt to local conditions, e.g. by changing their behavioural response to potential predators. In this study, we tested whether the escape distance of birds (measured as flight initiation distance; FID) differed between parks and cemeteries, areas characterized by different microhabitat conditions and human conduct, that are determinants of animal behaviour at large spatial scales. While escape behaviour of park populations of birds was often examined, cemetery populations have not been studied to the same extent and a large-scale comparison is still missing. Overall, we collected 2139 FID estimates for 44 bird species recorded in 79 parks and 90 cemeteries in four European countries: Czech Republic, France, Italy and Poland. Mixed model procedure was applied to study escape behaviour in relation to type of area (park or cemetery), environmental characteristics (area size, coverage by trees, shrubs, grass, chapels, tombstones, flowerbeds, number of street lamps) and human activity (human density, pedestrians speed and ratio of men/women). Birds allowed people closer in cemeteries than in parks in all countries. This pattern was persistent even when focusing on intraspecific differences in FID between populations of the most common bird species. Escape distance of birds was negatively correlated with the size of parks/cemeteries, while positively associated with tombstone coverage and human density in both types of habitat. Our findings highlight the ability of birds to adapt their behaviour to different types of urban areas, based on local environmental conditions, including the character of human-bird interactions. Our results also suggest that this behavioural pattern may be widespread across urban landscapes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.03.118DOI Listing
August 2018

Relatedness of wildlife and livestock avian isolates of the nosocomial pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii to lineages spread in hospitals worldwide.

Environ Microbiol 2017 10 9;19(10):4349-4364. Epub 2017 Oct 9.

Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Zielona Góra, Prof. Z. Szafrana Street 1, 65-561 Zielona Góra, Poland.

The natural habitats and potential reservoirs of the nosocomial pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii are poorly defined. Here, we put forth and tested the hypothesis of avian reservoirs of A. baumannii. We screened tracheal and rectal swab samples from livestock (chicken, geese) and wild birds (white stork nestlings) and isolated A. baumannii from 3% of sampled chicken (n = 220), 8% of geese (n = 40) and 25% of white stork nestlings (n = 661). Virulence of selected avian A. baumannii isolates was comparable to that of clinical isolates in the Galleria mellonella infection model. Whole genome sequencing revealed the close relationship of an antibiotic-susceptible chicken isolate from Germany with a multidrug-resistant human clinical isolate from China and additional linkages between livestock isolates and human clinical isolates related to international clonal lineages. Moreover, we identified stork isolates related to human clinical isolates from the United States. Multilocus sequence typing disclosed further kinship between avian and human isolates. Avian isolates do not form a distinct clade within the phylogeny of A. baumannii, instead they diverge into different lineages. Further, we provide evidence that A. baumannii is constantly present in the habitats occupied by storks. Collectively, our study suggests A. baumannii could be a zoonotic organism that may disseminate into livestock.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.13931DOI Listing
October 2017

Costs of migratory decisions: A comparison across eight white stork populations.

Sci Adv 2016 Jan 22;2(1):e1500931. Epub 2016 Jan 22.

Department of Migration and Immuno-Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, 78315 Radolfzell, Germany.; Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, 78457 Konstanz, Germany.

Annual migratory movements can range from a few tens to thousands of kilometers, creating unique energetic requirements for each specific species and journey. Even within the same species, migration costs can vary largely because of flexible, opportunistic life history strategies. We uncover the large extent of variation in the lifetime migratory decisions of young white storks originating from eight populations. Not only did juvenile storks differ in their geographically distinct wintering locations, their diverse migration patterns also affected the amount of energy individuals invested for locomotion during the first months of their life. Overwintering in areas with higher human population reduced the stork's overall energy expenditure because of shorter daily foraging trips, closer wintering grounds, or a complete suppression of migration. Because migrants can change ecological processes in several distinct communities simultaneously, understanding their life history decisions helps not only to protect migratory species but also to conserve stable ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1500931DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4737271PMC
January 2016

Effects of chemical elements in the trophic levels of natural salt marshes.

Environ Geochem Health 2016 Jun 10;38(3):783-810. Epub 2015 Sep 10.

Department of Medical Biology, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Karłowicz St. 24, 85-092, Bydgoszcz, Poland.

The relationships between the bioaccumulation of Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Co, Cd, and Pb, acidity (pH), salinity (Ec), and organic matter content within trophic levels (water-soil-plants-invertebrates) were studied in saline environments in Poland. Environments included sodium manufactures, wastes utilization areas, dumping grounds, and agriculture cultivation, where disturbed Ca, Mg, and Fe exist and the impact of Cd and Pb is high. We found Zn, Cu, Mn, Co, and Cd accumulation in the leaves of plants and in invertebrates. Our aim was to determine the selectivity exhibited by soil for nutrients and heavy metals and to estimate whether it is important in elucidating how these metals are available for plant/animal uptake in addition to their mobility and stability within soils. We examined four ecological plant groups: trees, shrubs, minor green plants, and water macrophytes. Among invertebrates, we sampled breastplates Malacostraca, small arachnids Arachnida, diplopods Diplopoda, small insects Insecta, and snails Gastropoda. A higher level of chemical elements was found in saline polluted areas (sodium manufactures and anthropogenic sites). Soil acidity and salinity determined the bioaccumulation of free radicals in the trophic levels measured. A pH decrease caused Zn and Cd to increase in sodium manufactures and an increase in Ca, Zn, Cu, Cd, and Pb in the anthropogenic sites. pH increase also caused Na, Mg, and Fe to increase in sodium manufactures and an increase in Na, Fe, Mn, and Co in the anthropogenic sites. There was a significant correlation between these chemical elements and Ec in soils. We found significant relationships between pH and Ec, which were positive in saline areas of sodium manufactures and negative in the anthropogenic and control sites. These dependencies testify that the measurement of the selectivity of cations and their fluctuation in soils provide essential information on the affinity and binding strength in these environments. The chemical elements accumulated in soils and plants; however, further flow is selective and variable. The selectivity exhibited by soil systems for nutrients and heavy metals is important in elucidating how these metals become available for plant/animal uptake and also their mobility and stability in soils.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10653-015-9761-5DOI Listing
June 2016

Winter Bird Assemblages in Rural and Urban Environments: A National Survey.

PLoS One 2015 18;10(6):e0130299. Epub 2015 Jun 18.

Department of Vertebrate Anatomy and Zoology, University of Szczecin, Wąska 13, 71-412 Szczecin, Poland.

Urban development has a marked effect on the ecological and behavioural traits of many living organisms, including birds. In this paper, we analysed differences in the numbers of wintering birds between rural and urban areas in Poland. We also analysed species richness and abundance in relation to longitude, latitude, human population size, and landscape structure. All these parameters were analysed using modern statistical techniques incorporating species detectability. We counted birds in 156 squares (0.25 km2 each) in December 2012 and again in January 2013 in locations in and around 26 urban areas across Poland (in each urban area we surveyed 3 squares and 3 squares in nearby rural areas). The influence of twelve potential environmental variables on species abundance and richness was assessed with Generalized Linear Mixed Models, Principal Components and Detrended Correspondence Analyses. Totals of 72 bird species and 89,710 individual birds were recorded in this study. On average (± SE) 13.3 ± 0.3 species and 288 ± 14 individuals were recorded in each square in each survey. A formal comparison of rural and urban areas revealed that 27 species had a significant preference; 17 to rural areas and 10 to urban areas. Moreover, overall abundance in urban areas was more than double that of rural areas. There was almost a complete separation of rural and urban bird communities. Significantly more birds and more bird species were recorded in January compared to December. We conclude that differences between rural and urban areas in terms of winter conditions and the availability of resources are reflected in different bird communities in the two environments.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0130299PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4472663PMC
April 2016

Urban and rural habitats differ in number and type of bird feeders and in bird species consuming supplementary food.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2015 Oct 24;22(19):15097-103. Epub 2015 May 24.

Department of Vertebrate Anatomy and Zoology, University of Szczecin, Wąska 13, 71-412, Szczecin, Poland.

Bird feeding is one of the most widespread direct interactions between man and nature, and this has important social and environmental consequences. However, this activity can differ between rural and urban habitats, due to inter alia habitat structure, human behaviour and the composition of wintering bird communities. We counted birds in 156 squares (0.25 km(2) each) in December 2012 and again in January 2013 in locations in and around 26 towns and cities across Poland (in each urban area, we surveyed 3 squares and also 3 squares in nearby rural areas). At each count, we noted the number of bird feeders, the number of bird feeders with food, the type of feeders, additional food supplies potentially available for birds (bread offered by people, bins) and finally the birds themselves. In winter, urban and rural areas differ in the availability of food offered intentionally and unintentionally to birds by humans. Both types of food availability are higher in urban areas. Our findings suggest that different types of bird feeder support only those species specialized for that particular food type and this relationship is similar in urban and rural areas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-4723-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4592493PMC
October 2015

Sex ratio of White Stork Ciconia ciconia in different environments of Poland.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2015 Sep 5;22(17):13194-203. Epub 2015 May 5.

Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Skłodowska-Curie St. 9, 85-094, Bydgoszcz, Poland,

The aim of this study was to analyze the variation in sex ratio of White Stork Ciconia ciconia chicks from differentiated Poland environments. We took under a consideration the impact of Cd and Pb for establish differences among sex ratio in chicks. We also study multiplex PCR employment for establish gender considerations. We collected blood samples via venipuncture of brachial vein of chicks during 2006-2008 breeding seasons at the Odra meadows (SW-Poland; control), which were compared with those from suburbs (SW-Poland), and from copper smelter (S-Poland; polluted) and from swamps near Baltic Sea. We found differences among sex ratio in White Stork chicks from types of environment. Male participation in sex structure is importantly higher in each type of environment excluded suburban areas. Differences in White Stork sex ratio according to the degree of environmental degradation expressed by Cd and Pb and sex-environment-metal interactions testify about the impact of these metals upon sex ratios in storks. Simultaneously, as a result of multiplex PCR, 18S ribosome gene, which served as internal control of PCR, was amplified in male and female storks. It means that it is possible to use primers designed for chicken in order to replicate this fragment of genome in White Stork. Moreover, the use of Oriental White Stork Ciconia boyciana W- chromosome specific primers makes it possible to determine the sex of C. ciconia chicks. Many factors make sex ratio of White Stork changes in subsequent breeding seasons, which depend significantly on specific environmental parameters that shape individual detailed defense mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-4250-zDOI Listing
September 2015

Determination of Rare Earth Elements in Human Sperm and Association with Semen Quality.

Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 2015 Aug 12;69(2):191-201. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

Department of Biopharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, dr. A. Jurasz St. 2, 85-089, Bydgoszcz, Poland,

The aim of the present study was to measure lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), europium (Eu), and gadolinium (Gd) concentrations in human semen and correlate the results with sperm quality. The median semen content of La was 19.5 µg kg(-1) dry weight (dw) (range 2.27-269), of Ce was 41.9 µg kg(-1) dw (range 4.52 to 167), of Eu was 0.68 µg kg(-1) dw (range 0.06-1.95), of Gd was 3.19 µg kg(-1) dw (range 0.38-12.0), and of calcium (Ca) was 4063 mg kg(-1) dw (range 484-17,191). Concentrations of La, Ce, Eu, Gd, and Ca were significantly lower in nondrinkers' semen than in semen from drinkers. Significant differences were detected between La, Ce, Eu, Gd, and Ca concentrations in semen from nondrinkers and moderate drinkers. Concentrations of La, Ce, and Gd in semen of short-term smokers were significantly lower than those in extremely long-term smokers. Significant differences were also detected between La concentration in semen from a group of short-term smokers and that of a group of long-term smokers. Positive correlations were found between La, Ce, Eu, Gd, and Ca concentrations in semen. La, Ce, Gd, and Ca concentrations in semen were positively associated with progressive motility and percentage of normal spermatozoa. Positive correlations were found between Ca and sperm concentration. Concentrations of La, Ce, and Gd were negatively associated with sperm concentration, whilst Ca concentration was negatively associated with volume of ejaculate. At the examined level, La, Ce, Eu, and Gd did not affect sperm quality, whereas alcohol consumption and smoking might have increased the level of rare earth elements in semen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00244-015-0143-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4490166PMC
August 2015

Corynebacterium pelargi sp. nov., isolated from the trachea of white stork nestlings.

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 2015 May 12;65(Pt 5):1415-1420. Epub 2015 Feb 12.

Institut für Angewandte Mikrobiologie, Universität Giessen, Giessen, Germany.

A Gram-stain-positive, pleomorphic, oxidase-negative, non-motile isolate from the trachea of a white stork from Poland, designated strain 136/3(T), was subjected to a comprehensive taxonomic investigation. A comparative analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequence showed highest similarities to Corynebacterium mustelae , Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis , Corynebacterium vitaeruminis and Corynebacterium ulcerans (96.0-96.3%). The quinone system consisted of major amounts of MK-8(H2), minor amounts of MK-9(H2) and traces of MK-8 and MK-9. The polar lipid profile of strain 136/3(T) contained phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylinositol-mannoside as major lipids and phosphatidylglycerol and an acidic glycolipid in moderate amounts. In addition small amounts of diphosphatidylglycerol, a phospholipid, an aminolipid and two lipids of unknown group affiliation were found. The polyamine pattern was composed of the major components spermidine and spermine. Putrescine, 1,3-diaminopropane, cadaverine, sym-homospermidine and tyramine were found in minor or trace amounts. The diamino acid of the peptidoglycan was meso-diaminopimelic acid. In the fatty acid profile straight-chain, saturated and mono-unsaturated fatty acids predominated (C(18 : 1)ω9c, C(16 : 1)ω7c, C16 : 0, C(18  : 0)). Corynemycolic acids were detected. Physiological traits as well as unique traits of the polar lipid profile and the fatty acid pattern distinguished strain 136/3(T) from the most closely related species. All these results indicate that strain 136/3(T) represents a novel species of the genus Corynebacterium for which we propose the name Corynebacterium pelargi sp. nov. The type strain is 136/3(T) ( =CIP 110778(T) =CCM 8517(T) =LMG 28174(T)).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/ijs.0.000115DOI Listing
May 2015

Description of Corynebacterium trachiae sp. nov., isolated from a white stork (Ciconia ciconia).

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 2015 Mar 5;65(Pt 3):784-788. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Institut für Angewandte Mikrobiologie, Universität Giessen, Giessen, Germany.

A Gram-stain-positive bacterial isolate, strain 280/10(T) was isolated from the trachea of a white stork. The isolate was morphologically rod- to coccoid-shaped, non-motile and showed no oxidase activity. The highest 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity was found to the type strain of Corynebacterium ciconiae (97.3 % similarity) as the nearest relative of strain 280/10(T), all other 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities to type strains of species of the genus Corynebacterium were below 94.2 %. Strain 280/10(T) had a quinone system consisting predominantly of menaquinone MK-8(H2), minor quantities of MK-9(H2) and small amounts of MK-8. The diamino acid of the peptidoglycan was meso-diaminopimelic acid. The major compounds in the polar lipid profiles were diphosphatidylglycerol, phoshatidylglycerol, phosphatidylinositol and an acidic glycolipid. Two phosphatidylinositol-mannosides and several unidentified lipids were also present. The strain contained corynemycolic acids, while only small amounts of cellular polyamines were detected. Spermidine and spermine were predominant in the polyamine pattern of 280/10(T) and putrescine was present in moderate amounts. In the fatty acid profile C18 : 1ω9c, and C16 : 0 were predominant. The strain was distinguishable from C. ciconiae, which is the most closely related species. In conclusion, strain 280/10(T) is proposed to represent a novel species of the genus Corynebacterium with the name Corynebacterium trachiae sp. nov. and the type strain 280/10(T) ( = CIP 110796(T) = LMG 28214(T)).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/ijs.0.000014DOI Listing
March 2015

Gemmobacter intermedius sp. nov., isolated from a white stork (Ciconia ciconia).

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 2015 Mar 5;65(Pt 3):778-783. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Institut für Angewandte Mikrobiologie, Universität Giessen, Giessen, Germany.

A cream-coloured, Gram-stain-negative, aerobic, non-motile, rod- to irregular shaped bacterium, strain 119/4(T), was isolated from a choana swab of a white stork nestling on sheep blood agar. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis and subsequent comparisons showed that it was a member of the family Rhodobacteraceae, showing 94.9 % similarity to the type strain of Gemmobacter tilapiae and 94.6 % similarity to that of Gemmobacter nectariphilus, but also similarly low sequence similarity to the type strains of Rhodobacter viridis (94.8 %), Rhodobacter veldkampii (94.6 %) and Paenirhodobacter enshiensis (94.6 %). Reconstruction of phylogenetic trees showed that strain 119/4(T) clustered close to species of the genus Gemmobacter. The quinone system contained high amounts of ubiquinone Q-10 with traces of Q-8, Q-9 and Q-11, and the fatty acid profile consisted mainly of C18 : 1ω7c, C16 : 1ω7c/iso-C15 : 0 2-OH and C10 : 0 3-OH. The predominant polar lipids were diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine, phoshatidylglycerol and phosphatidylcholine. Major polyamines were putrescine and spermidine. On the basis of 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis and chemotaxonomic and physiological data, strain 119/4(T) represents a novel species of the genus Gemmobacter, for which the name Gemmobacter intermedius sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is 119/4(T) ( = CIP 110795(T) = LMG 28215(T) = CCM 8510(T)).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/ijs.0.000012DOI Listing
March 2015

Psychrobacter ciconiae sp. nov., isolated from white storks (Ciconia ciconia).

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 2015 Mar 5;65(Pt 3):772-777. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Institut für Angewandte Mikrobiologie, Universität Giessen, Giessen, Germany.

Five beige bacterial strains (176/10(T), 178/10, 182/10, 185/7 and 193/8) were isolated from white storks in Poland and found to share identical 16S rRNA gene sequences; they were also investigated in a polyphasic taxonomic study. The cells of all isolates were rod-shaped and Gram-stain-negative. A comparison of the 16S rRNA gene sequences of these organisms with the sequences of the type strains of the most closely related species of the genus Psychrobacter showed highest sequence similarities to the type strains of Psychrobacter pulmonis and Psychrobacter faecalis (both 97.1 %). The 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities to all other species of the genus Psychrobacter were below 96.3 %. All five isolates showed an identical profile of physiological reactions and almost identical fatty acid profiles consisting of mainly C18 : 1ω9c, but also C12 : 0 3-OH as a characteristic hydroxylated fatty acid. A quinone system with mainly ubiquinone Q-8 was detected and the polar lipid profile of the type strain, 176/10(T), was mainly composed of phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylserine and diphosphatidylglycerol, plus some hitherto uncharacterized phospholipids and one aminolipid. The major polyamines were spermidine and putrescine. DNA-DNA hybridizations between 176/10(T) and the type strains of P. pulmonis and P. faecialis resulted in relatedness values below 70 %. These results indicate that the strains represent a novel species, for which the name Psychrobacter ciconiae sp. nov. (type strain 176/10(T) = CIP 110777(T) = LMG 28175(T) = CCM 8519(T)) is proposed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/ijs.0.000013DOI Listing
March 2015

Prevalence, virulence, and antimicrobial resistance of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli in white stork Ciconia ciconia in Poland.

Foodborne Pathog Dis 2015 Jan 2;12(1):24-31. Epub 2014 Dec 2.

1 Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Nicolaus Copernicus University , Bydgoszcz, Poland .

The aim of this study was to investigate the role of white stork Ciconia ciconia as a potential reservoir of Campylobacter spp. Antimicrobial resistance and the presence of putative virulence genes of the isolates were also examined. A total of 398 white stork chicks sampled in Western Poland in habitats with high density of breeding were examined. Rectal swabs were collected during breeding season 2009-2012 from storks developing in a relatively pure environment (Odra meadows), in polluted areas (a copper mining-smelting complex), and in suburbs. Of the anal swabs collected, 7.6% were positive for Campylobacter among chicks (5.3% samples positive for C. jejuni and 2.3% samples positive for C. coli). Samples from polluted areas had the highest prevalence of Campylobacter (12.2%). The prevalence of resistance among C. jejuni and C. coli isolates from young storks was as follows: to ciprofloxacin (52.4%, 44.4%), and to tetracycline (19%, 77.8%). All of the analyzed isolates were susceptible to macrolides. The resistance to both classes of antibiotics was found in the 23.3% of Campylobacter spp. All Campylobacter spp. isolates had cadF gene and flaA gene responsible for adherence and motility. CdtB gene associated with toxin production was present in 88.9% of C. coli isolates and 57.1% of C. jejuni isolates. The iam marker was found more often in C. coli strains (55.6%) compared to C. jejuni isolates (42.9%). Our results confirm the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in the white stork in natural conditions and, because it lives in open farmlands with access to marshy wetlands, the environmental sources such as water reservoirs and soil-water can be contaminated from white stork feces and the pathogens can be widely disseminated. We can thus conclude that Campylobacter spp. may easily be transmitted to waterfowl, other birds, and humans via its environmental sources and/or by immediate contact.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/fpd.2014.1793DOI Listing
January 2015

Bird migration advances more strongly in urban environments.

PLoS One 2013 8;8(5):e63482. Epub 2013 May 8.

Institute of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Poznań, Poland.

Urbanization has a marked effect on the reproduction and other ecological and behavioural traits of many living organisms, including birds. In migrant birds, survival and reproductive output is influenced by the (mis)synchronization of arrival with the availability of resources. Many recent studies have shown that arrival timing is related to temperatures en-route and at destination. Because urban areas are "heat islands", with higher temperatures that influence earlier vegetation and invertebrate development, this should favour earlier arrival of migrant birds to cities rather than to rural areas. In this paper, we analysed differences between urban and rural habitats in mean dates and trends of first arrival dates of 18 species of migratory bird species in western Poland during 1983-2010. For many individual species, and overall, mean first arrival date was significantly earlier in rural areas than in urban areas (significant for 11 species). However, the trend towards earlier first arrival dates was stronger in urban areas for 15 of the 18 species (significantly stronger in four species). Consequently, arrival dates in urban areas are fast approaching, or have now matched or passed those in rural areas. These findings suggest that recent environmental changes may have more rapidly changed the migratory habits of birds occupying urban habitats than those occupying rural habitats.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0063482PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3648465PMC
December 2013

[The susceptibility of Proteus mirabilis strains isolated from white stork (Ciconia ciconia)].

Med Dosw Mikrobiol 2011 ;63(2):139-44

Katedra i Zakład Mikrobiologii, Collegium Medicum im. L. Rydygiera w Bydgoszczy, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu.

Proteus sp. rods are ubiquitous bacteria, widespread in the environment and classified also as opportunistic human pathogens. The aim of our study was to evaluate susceptibility of Proteus mirabilis strains isolated from white stork (Ciconia ciconia) regarding as his natural bacterial flora, compare and discuss their results with data obtained from scientific literature for clinical strains of the same species. Susceptibility of 59 P. mirabilis strains was estimated for 27 antimicrobials using disc-diffusion method and the ability to produce extended spectrum beta-lactamases was evaluated by double disc synergy test. Environmental P. mirabilis strains isolated from white stork were assessed as more susceptible to most of the examined antimicrobials and production of extended spectrum beta-lactamases was not noted amongst them.
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March 2012

Blood chemistry in white stork Ciconia ciconia chicks varies by sex and age.

Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol 2010 Jun 15;156(2):144-7. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Zielona Góra, Prof. Z. Szafrana St. 1, PL 65-516 Zielona Góra, Poland.

Little is known on how blood biochemistry differs among avian chicks, especially in sexually monomorphic species. In this study we sampled blood chemistry of 342 white stork Ciconia ciconia chicks from nests in western Poland during four years (2005-2008). Special attention was paid to the effect of chick age and sex on blood biochemistry. Since white stork is a monomorphic species, the sex of chicks was established by a molecular technique. Nine blood biochemical parameters were studied: total protein concentration, urea, uric acid, triglycerides, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). There were sexual differences in total protein, uric acid, cholesterol, HDL and AST. However, total protein and uric acid only differed significantly between sexes if an age effect was included as a covariate in the analysis. Triglycerides decreased significantly, and AST, increased significantly with chick age. We confirm that blood biochemistry varies with chick age, but we also found significant differences between the sexes. Therefore, to understand changes in blood parameters, and to establish reference ranges useful in captive rearing of this endangered species, establishing gender may be important, even in very young individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpb.2010.03.003DOI Listing
June 2010

Ecophysiological determinations of antioxidant enzymes and lipoperoxidation in the blood of White Stork Ciconia ciconia from Poland.

Environ Res 2009 Jan 18;109(1):29-39. Epub 2008 Nov 18.

Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Skłodowska-Curie Street 9, PL 85-094 Bydgoszcz, Poland.

The aim of this study was to investigate the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the blood of White Stork Ciconia ciconia chicks (aged 19-54 days) in Poland in 2006. We took under consideration superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ceruloplasmine (CP), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR) and the content of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (malondialdehyde) in polluted (copper manufacture), suburban areas, at the Odra meadows, and at swamps near Baltic Sea in the Pomeranian region. We examined the levels of Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Co, Cd, and Pb and compared ecophysiological determinations for developing storks. Blood samples of wing venous were collected from 91 chicks from 33 nests. The degree of activity of antioxidant enzymes studied has been different in White Stork chicks' blood from Poland regions, as a rule. We have stated a relatively high level of CAT, GPx, SOD, and GR activity and malondialdehyde (MDA) content in chicks from polluted areas. However, relative value for GR in storks from Odra meadows was considerably higher (about 112 nmol NADPH(2)/min ml) than those in chicks from other environments (56-84 nmol on average). Relatively high levels of CAT, CP, and GPx (2.7 mkM/min l, 22.2 mg/l, and 3.8 nmol GSH/min ml, respectively) were also stated in chicks nested in swamps near Baltic Sea. Simultaneously, we have stated differences (p<0.02-p<0.001) in the level of elements (besides Ca) in blood of young storks from the studied areas. We found a high level of toxic metals, e.g. Cd, either from swamps near Baltic Sea (2.7 mg/kg) or from Głogów smelter (2.2mg/kg), whilst Pb concentration was high in chicks from Głogów (7.2 mg/kg). Cd and Pb levels in blood of chicks were different in individuals from each region (p<0.001). Birds from a smelter have the highest level of these elements, whereas the lowest one was stated in chicks from Odra meadows (Cd: 1.45, Pb: 0.84 mg/kg). Thus, Cd could be a useful marker of response for polluted stress. We also observed a relatively high level of Mg in chicks from both Pomeranian (7000 mg/kg) and polluted (about 6000 mg/kg) areas. Potassium, zinc, and cobalt levels were highest in chicks from suburbs (4.65, 10.1, and 2.7 mg/kg, respectively) and polluted regions (3.8, 9.7, and 5.6 mg/kg, respectively), whilst Cu and Mn were highest in those from polluted (10.9 and 47.6 mg/kg, respectively) and Pomeranian regions (11 and 42.2 mg/kg, respectively). Concentrations of Na, K, and Ca in chicks from Głogów smelter (143.2, 3.8, and 115.9 mg/kg, respectively) were often similar to those from Odra meadows (147.8, 3.6, and 112.5 mg/kg, respectively). This was probably due to a similar degree of homeostatic regulations of an organism. The levels of Mg, Fe, Zn, and Cu were often different (p<0.02-p<0.001) in the blood of White Stork chicks from the studied areas. Co, Pb, and Cd levels were higher (p<0.001) in chicks from Głogów smelter than in those from Odra meadows. It is evidence for importance of anthropopression, which influenced the course of biogeochemical processes and the bioaccumulation of toxic metals locally. This takes place also in chicks from swamps near Baltic Sea, in which the level of Cd was high (2.7 mg/kg); so we can state the high intensity of intoxication in this region. We can conclude that the use of hematological research assesses the condition of birds and might give a positive association with miscellaneous environmental loads. The high concentration of toxic heavy metals involved greater intensity of antioxidant enzymes' activity. Environmental intoxication causes an increase of lipoperoxidation intensity in growing chicks and changes the response of their immunological system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2008.07.013DOI Listing
January 2009

The impact of element-element interactions on antioxidant enzymatic activity in the blood of white stork (Ciconia ciconia) chicks.

Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 2009 Feb 4;56(2):325-37. Epub 2008 Jul 4.

Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Skłodowska-Curie St. 9, PL 85-094 Bydgoszcz, Poland.

The aim of this work was to determine interrelationships among macroelements Na, K, Ca, Mg, and Fe, microelements Zn, Cu, Mn, and Co, and toxic heavy metals Pb and Cd in the blood of white stork Ciconia ciconia, during postnatal development, in different Polish environments, and their impact on the activity of antioxidant enzymes. We considered the content of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARSs), i.e., malondialdehyde (MDA), and activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ceruloplasmine (CP), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and glutathione reductase (GR). Blood samples were collected from storks developing at Odra meadows (Kłopot; southwestern Poland). They were compared with blood of chicks from several suburban sites located 20 km away from Zielona Góra (0.1 million inhabitants; southwestern Poland) and near Głogów, where a copper smelter is situated. We also conducted research in the Pomeranian region (Cecenowo; northern Poland). We collected blood samples via venipuncture of the brachial vein of chicks in 2005-2007. They were retrieved from the nest and placed in individual ventilated cotton sacks. The blood was collected using a 5-ml syringe washed with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). We found significant interactions between macro- and microelements and enzymatic activity and TBARS products. We noticed the predominance of Cd and Pb participation in element-enzyme interactions. Simultaneously, we found interrelationships between cadmium and Na, K, Ca, Mg, and Fe and the activity of antioxidant enzymes SOD, CAT, CP, GR, and TBARS products in the blood of white stork chicks. In the case of lead these relationships were not numerous and they were significant for Ca, Mg, Cu, Mn, and Co. Correlations with enzymes were significant for Pb-CAT and Pb-TBARS. We noted that activities of most enzymes (SOD, CAT, CP, GR) and TBARS products are determined by their interactions with physiological elements Na, Ca, Mg, Fe, and Zn and toxic heavy metals. White stork chicks ranged in age from 17 to 59 days. Concentrations of elements in the blood were age related. Among enzymes, only SOD, CAT, and GPx were age related. Young storks differed in the case of element concentration (except for Ca, Zn, and Cd) and enzymatic activity. We found that significant element-element interaction/enzyme activity predominated in the case of physiological elements and toxic metals, which we explain by the intensive and prevailing access of toxic metals in redox reactions. This causes changes in the priority of these metals, reflected by their influence on the enzymatic activity of antioxidant enzymes. The content of Cd and Pb in blood of young storks from different regions tends to affect the lipid peroxidation process negatively. However, in many cases we observed an increase in enzymatic activity with an increase in heavy metals. This indicates the changes in oxidative stress intensity in chicks in response to environmental differentiation. The increase in lipoperoxidation modifies antioxidant enzyme activity and causes changes in SOD, CAT, CP, GPx, and GR activity in chicks from various regions, principally increases in enzyme activity in chicks from polluted environments and suburbs. We suggest that the source of heavy metals in chicks' blood might be used as a biological test system of adaptation to oxidative stress. We also report that a high level of heavy metals is accompanied by increased lipid peroxidation. Thus young storks are probably significantly susceptible to environmental conditions. They demonstrated initiation of lipoperoxidation and oxidative modification of proteins that coincide with chemical elements, as a possible antioxidant defense system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00244-008-9178-6DOI Listing
February 2009

Serologic survey of potential vertebrate hosts for West Nile virus in Poland.

Viral Immunol 2008 Jun;21(2):247-53

Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic.

A survey for antibodies to West Nile virus (WNV; genus ,Flavivirus) was carried out by plaque-re-duction neutralization microtesting in 78 horses, 20 domestic chickens, and 97 wild birds belonging to 10 species from different areas in Poland. Specific antibodies were detected in five juvenile (hatching-year) birds collected in 2006: three white storks (Ciconia ciconia) in a wildlife rehabilitation center (5.4% of all examined storks; the antibody titers in each bird were 1:320, 1:160, and 1:20), one free-living mute swan (Cygnus olor; the titer was 1:20), and one hooded crow (Corvus corone cornix; the titer 1:20) in a wildlife rehabilitation center; thus the overall seropositivity to WNV was 5.2% among all the birds sampled. These data do not rule out the presence of WNV activity in Poland with 100% certainty, but they indicate a significant trace that demands verification. In addition, one black-headed gull (Larus ridibundus) had neutralizing antibodies for the Usutu Flavivirus, the first case recorded in Poland.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/vim.2007.0111DOI Listing
June 2008