Science in China Series B: Chemistry

, Volume 44, Supplement 1, pp 165–172 | Cite as

Behavior of Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd in biota of Yangtze Estuary

  • Jianjian Lu
  • Wenshan He
  • Kaiya Zhou
  • Yawen Tang
  • Shufeng Ye
  • Pingyue Sun
Biogeochemical Processes


The contents of zinc, copper, lead and cadmium were measured in the dominant species (plants:Scripus triquetor andPhrgrmites australis, macrobenthos:Ilyoplax deschampsin, Helice tridens tientsinensis, Bullacta exarata and Corbicula fluminea, and migrating waders: Calidris ruficollis and C. alpina) of the ecosystem of Yangtze Estuary, China, from 1995–1998. Results show that:
  1. (1)

    Since the heavy metals stored in plants during growth seasons will be released into the environment in winter, plants are temporary stocks for metals. For the aboveground parts of reeds, about 156.6 kg·ha-1·a-1 of zinc, 369.9 kg·ha-1·a-10 of copper, 32.9 kg·ha-·a-1 of lead and 6.5 kg·ha-1·a-1 of cadmium were released.

  2. (2)

    The mollusca, especially C.fluminea, are the key species storing and transporting heavy metals on the food chain.

  3. (3)

    The temporal change in the highest trophic level was studied and found that it was significantly related with metabolic rates. The contents of heavy metals in Dunlin reach the peaks in January and October, which are wintering season and migratory season, respectively, of the bird.

  4. (4)

    Organisms often show regulation/accumulation mechanisms to different elements of heavy metals. The elements that are widely required, such as zinc and copper, are accumulated at the metabolically active parts. It is quite another thing for the other two elements. Lead was regulated well and scarcely accumulated in the bodies of macrobenthos, but cadmium was absolutely accumulated in the animals.

  5. (5)

    Heavy metals were found accumulated in some parts of the bodies of these organisms, such as shells and skeletons of macrobenthos and lives and muscles of waders.

  6. (6)

    All these four elements were accumulated higher in the bodies of waders than in the plants and macrobenthos, which showed a bio-magnification function of the food chain. Overall, besides the physical and chemical processes, biological processes of heavy metal elements in Yangtze Estuarine ecosystem play a very important role in self-purification function of the ecosystem. Measurement of heavy metal contents in plants and animals in the estuarine ecosystem is an efficient technology for monitoring the environmental quality of the estuary.



trace elements living system tidal flat Yangtze Estuary. 


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Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianjian Lu
    • 1
  • Wenshan He
    • 1
  • Kaiya Zhou
    • 2
  • Yawen Tang
    • 1
  • Shufeng Ye
    • 1
  • Pingyue Sun
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal ResearchEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Institute of Genetic Resources, Nanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina

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