Biomarkers of Heavy Metal Contamination in the Red Fingered Marsh Crab, Parasesarma erythodactyla

  • G. R. MacFarlane
  • M. Schreider
  • B. McLennan


Variation in glutathione antioxidant biochemistry in response to metal contamination and accumulation under field conditions was examined in the brachyurid grapsid, Parasesarma erythodactyla. Significant relationships suggesting accumulation were found between sediment metals and metals in crab tissue for Pb, Cu, Cr, Zn, and Se in males and Cd, Pb, Cr Zn, As, and Se in females. Higher pH and lower organic content were associated with greater uptake of selected metals in males and females. Higher salinity was related to increased metal uptake for Cu and Zn in males and lower salinities to increased Se uptake for males and females. When examining metals, which were elevated in crabs, patterns of site discrimination were similar to sediment metal site discrimination for both males and females. In terms of biochemical responses, glutathione levels remained constant while glutathione peroxidase activity was elevated in individuals where metals were elevated. Only females with the highest levels of accumulated metals exhibited increases in lipid peroxidation products. Glutathione peroxidase activity may be a sensitive biomarker of metal exposure and biological effect and lipid peroxides as a secondary marker when accumulated metals are high.


Lipid Peroxidation Product Stepwise Multiple Linear Regression Decapod Crustacean Sediment Quality Guideline Sediment Metal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We wish to thank David Reid for his assistance in field sampling and laboratory analyses, Mr. Olivier Rey-Lescure for map preparation, Peter Davie from the Queensland Museum for assistance with the taxonomy of P. erythodactyla, and NSW Fisheries and Lake Macquarie City Council’s environmental research grants programme for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Sustainable Use of Coasts and Catchments, University of NewcastleOurimbahAustralia

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