Accumulation of trace metals in the muscle and liver tissues of five fish species from the Persian Gulf

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In this study, concentrations of 16 elements were quantified in muscles and livers of 141 fishes belonging to five commercially species. It was also our intention to evaluate potential risks to human health associated with seafood consumption. The grunt, flathead, greasy grouper, tiger-tooth croaker and silver pomfret fish species were obtained from Abadan, Deylam, Bushehr-Nirogah, Dayyer port, Lengeh port and Abbas port in Hormozgan, Bushehr and Khozesran provinces at the Iranian waters of the Persian Gulf. The contents of Al, As, Be, Cd, Cr, Co, Cu, Fe, Pb, Mn, Mo, Ni, Sb, Tl, V and Zn in fish muscles and livers were determined by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP MS), after digestion in a CEM (Mars 5) microwave oven using nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide. Our results indicated that almost all metals were more accumulated in younger flathead, greasy grouper and tiger-tooth fishes. Contrary to the other fish species, grunt seems to stronger accumulating elements in the older fishes. Strong and positive correlations were observed in three or more of the fish species between V, Al, Fe, Tl, Co and Pb. The results confirmed that fish muscle and liver tissues appeared to be good bio-indicators for identification of coastal areas exposed to metallic contaminants. The results also showed that the element levels in the muscles of all fishes in our study were lower than the maximum allowable concentrations and pose no threat to public health, except for arsenic.

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Correspondence to Homira Agah.

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Agah, H., Leermakers, M., Elskens, M. et al. Accumulation of trace metals in the muscle and liver tissues of five fish species from the Persian Gulf. Environ Monit Assess 157, 499 (2009).

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  • Heavy metals
  • Fish
  • Muscle and liver
  • The Persian Gulf
  • ICP MS