Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 12, pp 7339–7349 | Cite as

Trace elements in sediments, blue spotted tilapia Oreochromis leucostictus (Trewavas, 1933) and its parasite Contracaecum multipapillatum from Lake Naivasha, Kenya, including a comprehensive health risk analysis

  • Elick O. Otachi
  • Wilfried Körner
  • Annemariè Avenant-Oldewage
  • Christine Fellner-Frank
  • Franz Jirsa
Research Article


This study presents the distribution of 15 major and trace elements in sediments and fish and their pericardial parasites from Lake Naivasha, Kenya. The lake is one of the few freshwater lakes in the Great Rift Valley and is under strong anthropogenic pressure mainly due to agricultural activities. Its fish provide a valuable protein source for approximately 100,000 people in the area. Fish and their parasites have been acknowledged as indicators of environmental quality due to their accumulation potential for both essential and nonessential trace elements. A total of 34 specimens of the blue spotted tilapia Oreochromis leucostictus and pooled samples of their pericardial parasite, the anisakid nematode Contracaecum multipapillatum (larvae 3), were examined. Element concentrations were determined by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GF-AAS). The concentrations of elements in the sediments reflected the geology of the area and did not point to pollution: none of the investigated trace elements, including Pb, Cd, Cu, and Zn, showed elevated values. In contrast, concentrations in the fish muscle were elevated for Li, Sr, Cd, and Zn, with high target hazard quotients (THQ > 0.1) indicating a potential health risk to the consumers of this fish. Fish liver showed significantly higher concentrations of the trace elements Fe, Mn, Cd, and Cu compared to the muscle and C. multipapillatum. In the parasite, Zn had the highest concentration, but the worms only minimally accumulated trace elements in relation to their fish host.


Trace elements Contracaecum multipapillatum Oreochromis leucostictus Bioindicator THQ Lake Naivasha 



We thank the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD-GmbH), Centre for International Cooperation and Mobility (ICM), for funding this study through a scholarship/grant award within the Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for development—APPEAR. We sincerely thank Prof. Simonetta Mattiucci (University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy) for confirming the identification of Contracaecum multipapillatum. We also thank Egerton University for providing laboratory space, facilities, and technical assistance, and The National Council of Science and Technology, Kenya for the issuance of research permit number NCST/RR1/12/1/BS011/46.

Supplementary material

11356_2014_2602_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
ESM Table 1 (DOCX 18 kb)
11356_2014_2602_MOESM2_ESM.docx (273 kb)
ESM Fig 1 (DOCX 272 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elick O. Otachi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wilfried Körner
    • 3
  • Annemariè Avenant-Oldewage
    • 4
  • Christine Fellner-Frank
    • 1
  • Franz Jirsa
    • 5
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Integrative ZoologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Biological Sciences DepartmentEgerton UniversityEgertonKenya
  3. 3.Department of Environmental GeosciencesUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Department of ZoologyUniversity of JohannesburgAuckland ParkSouth Africa
  5. 5.Institute of Inorganic ChemistryUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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