Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 704–716 | Cite as

Metal accumulation in the greentail prawn, Metapenaeus bennettae, in Sydney and Port Hacking estuaries, Australia

  • K. L. M. Lewtas
  • G. F. Birch
  • C. Foster-Thorpe
Research Article


Metal concentrations of the inshore greentail prawn, Metapenaeus bennettae, and surface sediments from locations within Sydney estuary and Port Hacking (Australia) were assessed for bioaccumulation and contamination. The current study aimed to assess metal concentrations in prawn tissue (tail muscle, exoskeleton, hepatopancreas and gills), relate whole body prawn tissue metal concentrations to sediment metal concentrations and animal size, as well as assess prawn consumption as a risk to human health. Metal concentrations were highest in sediment and prawns from contaminated locations (Iron Cove, Hen and Chicken Bay and Lane Cove) in Sydney estuary compared with the reference estuary (Port Hacking). Concentrations in sediments varied considerably between sites and between metals (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn), and although concentrations exceeded Interim Sediment Quality Guideline-Low values, metals (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) were below Australian National Health and Medical Research Council human consumption guidelines in prawn tail muscle tissue. Metal concentrations in prawn tail muscle tissue were significantly different (p ≤ 0.05) amongst locations for Pb, Zn and Cd, and metal concentrations were generally highest in gills tissue, followed by the hepatopancreas, exoskeleton and tail muscle. The exoskeleton contained the highest Sr concentration; the hepatopancreas contained the highest As, Cu and Mo concentrations; and the gills contained the highest Al, Cr, Fe and Pb concentrations. Concentrations of Pb, As and Sr were significantly different (p ≤ 0.05) between size groups amongst locations.


Greentail prawn Sydney estuary Port Hacking Tissue Sediments Metals 



We thank Tom Savage at the University of Sydney for laboratory assistance, David Bishop at UTS for chemical analyses support and Brendan Kiley for laboratory support. David Booth and Iain Suthers are thanked for their help in acquiring the prawns. The manuscript was improved by constructive comments made by the reviewers.

Supplementary material

11356_2013_1961_MOESM1_ESM.doc (124 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 123 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. L. M. Lewtas
    • 1
  • G. F. Birch
    • 1
  • C. Foster-Thorpe
    • 2
  1. 1.Environmental Geology group, School of GeosciencesSydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of the EnvironmentalUniversity of TechnologySydneyAustralia

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