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Liver Antioxidants in Relation to Beak Morphology, Gizzard Size and Diet in the Common Eider Somateria mollissima

Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Ecologie Systématique Evolution, Université Paris-Sud, CNRS, Agro ParisTech, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91405 Orsay CEDEX, France
Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Grenåvej 14, Kalø, DK-8410 Rønde, Denmark
Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Van Yuzuncu Yil University, 65080 Van, Turkey
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Antioxidants 2019, 8(2), 31;
Received: 23 December 2018 / Revised: 19 January 2019 / Accepted: 28 January 2019 / Published: 31 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antioxidants in Poultry Nutrition and Reproduction)
Antioxidants in the liver are particularly abundant in capital breeders that rely on stored resources for egg production. Capital breeders like eider (hereafter common eider) Somateria mollissima have disproportionately large livers with low levels of coenzyme Q10 when compared to other bird species. Concentrations of total carotenoids and vitamin E in the livers of eiders were smaller than predicted for similarly sized bird species. Eiders with high body condition estimated as body mass relative to skeletal body size had high levels of total carotenoids and low levels of coenzyme Q10. The concentration of total carotenoids per gram of liver increased with age, and vitamin E and total carotenoids accumulated during the winter onwards from February to peak at the start of incubation in April. Total vitamin E, total carotenoids, and coenzyme Q10 per gram of liver decreased with increasing beak volume. The size of the empty gizzard increased with increasing liver mass but decreased with total carotenoids and coenzyme Q10. The main components of the diet were blue mussels Mytilus edulis (40%), draft whelk Nassarius reticulatus (27%), and periwinkle Littorina littorea (10%). The concentration of vitamin E increased with the number of razor clams Ensis sp. and draft whelks in the gizzard and the concentration of total carotenoids increased with the number of beach crabs Carcinus maenas. These observations are consistent with the hypothesis that eiders are limited in their levels of antioxidants through food limitation. Furthermore, they imply that diet and morphological characters involved in food acquisition and processing are important determinants of the level of antioxidants in the liver. View Full-Text
Keywords: antioxidants; α-tocopherol; retinol; carotenoids; coenzyme Q10; eiders antioxidants; α-tocopherol; retinol; carotenoids; coenzyme Q10; eiders
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Møller, A.P.; Laursen, K.; Karadas, F. Liver Antioxidants in Relation to Beak Morphology, Gizzard Size and Diet in the Common Eider Somateria mollissima. Antioxidants 2019, 8, 31.

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