Environ Sci Technol 2019 May 2;53(10):5977-5986. Epub 2019 May 2.
Laboratoire Chrono-Environnement , UMR 6249 CNRS/Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté UsC INRA , 16 Route de Gray , 25030 Besançon Cedex, France.
Exposure of terrestrial mammals to chemical contaminants like trace metals (TMs) is considered to be mainly based on trophic transfer. Although relationships between TM transfer to animals and identity of contaminated food have been studied, the variation of the TM transfer with respect to diet diversity has been poorly documented. In this study, the oral exposure to TMs of wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus was investigated with respect to both the number of different items, i.e., diet richness, and the identity of items determined by metabarcoding from their stomach content, i.e., diet composition. The results showed that consuming Salicaceae, a known cadmium accumulator plant family, significantly increased exposure to cadmium and zinc. However, an increase in diet richness minimized exposure to cadmium when mice consumed Salicaceae items. This strongly suggests that TM accumulator items can lead to a high oral exposure to TMs but that such high exposure due to TM accumulator items can be " diluted" by diet richness due to other low accumulator items. Our results clearly indicate that both the presence of certain items in the diet and diet richness are important determinants of exposure to TMs in generalist animals, which matches the predictions of the " diet dilution hypothesis".