Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 6721–6731 | Cite as

Accumulation and risk assessment of heavy metals in water, sediments, and aquatic organisms in rural rivers in the Taihu Lake region, China

  • Luji Bo
  • Dejian Wang
  • Tianling Li
  • Yan Li
  • Gang Zhang
  • Can Wang
  • Shanqing Zhang
Research Article


Concentrations of heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn) were measured in water, sediments, Ceratophyllum (hornwort), and Bellamya sp. (edible snail) from residential, mixed (industrial and commercial), and agricultural areas with rural rivers in the Taihu Lake region, China. Zn concentrations were the highest, whereas Cd concentrations were the lowest among the six metals in water, sediments, and aquatic organisms. Cd was mainly present in the acid-soluble fraction, Cr in the residual fraction, and Pb in the reducible fraction of sediments. Heavy metal concentrations in water, sediments, and aquatic organisms in the three areas followed the order of the mixed area > residential area > agricultural area. Heavy metal concentrations in aquatic organisms were not only related to total metal concentrations in water and sediments but also to metal speciation concentrations in sediments. In addition, the bio-concentration factor (BCF) values of Cr, Cu, Pb, and Zn for Bellamya sp. were higher than those for Ceratophyllum, whereas the BCF values of Cd and Ni for Bellamya sp. were lower than those for Ceratophyllum. An ecological risk assessment of heavy metals in sediments showed that Cd posed the highest ecological risk to the environment. A health risk assessment showed that consuming Bellamya sp. from the mixed area could cause a potential health risk.


Heavy metals Sediment Rural Aquatic organisms Accumulation Risk assessment 



This work was supported by National Key Technology R&D Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology (no. 2012BAJ24B06).


  1. Abdel-Baki AS, Dkhil MA, Al-Quraishy S (2013) Bioaccumulation of some heavy metals in tilapia fish relevant to their concentration in water and sediment of Wadi Hanifah, Saudi Arabia. Afr J Biotechnol 10:2541–2547Google Scholar
  2. Agoramoorthy G, Chen FA, Hsu MJ (2008) Threat of heavy metal pollution in halophytic and mangrove plants of Tamil Nadu, India. Environ Pollut 155:320–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahmad JU, Goni MA (2010) Heavy metal contamination in water, soil, and vegetables of the industrial areas in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Environ Monit Assess 166:347–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ahmed ATA, Mandal S, Chowdhury DA, Tareq ARM, Rahman MM (2012) Bioaccumulation of some heavy metals in Ayre Fish (Sperata Aor Hamilton, 1822), sediment and water of Dhaleshwari River in dry season. Bangladesh J Zool 40:147–153Google Scholar
  5. Aktar MW, Paramasivam M, Ganguly M, Purkait S, Sengupta D (2010) Assessment and occurrence of various heavy metals in surface water of Ganga river around Kolkata: a study for toxicity and ecological impact. Environ Monit Assess 160:207–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bonanno G, Lo Giudice R (2010) Heavy metal bioaccumulation by the organs of Phragmites australis (common reed) and their potential use as contamination indicators. Ecol Indic 10:639–645CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Demirak A, Yilmaz F, Levent Tuna A, Ozdemir N (2006) Heavy metals in water, sediment and tissues of Leuciscus cephalus from a stream in southwestern Turkey. Chemosphere 63:1451–1458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dummee V, Kruatrachue M, Trinachartvanit W, Tanhan P, Pokethitiyook P, Damrongphol P (2012) Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in water, sediments, aquatic plant and histopathological effects on the golden apple snail in Beung Boraphet reservoir, Thailand. Ecotox Environ Safe 86:204–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fernandes C, Fontaínhas-Fernandes A, Cabral D, Salgado MA (2008) Heavy metals in water, sediment and tissues of Liza saliens from Esmoriz–Paramos lagoon, Portugal. Environ Monit Assess 136:267–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Götze S, Bose A, Sokolova IM, Abele D, Saborowski R (2014) The proteasomes of two marine decapod crustaceans, European lobster (Homarus gammarus) and Edible crab (Cancer pagurus), are differently impaired by heavy metals. Comp Biochem Phys 162:62–69Google Scholar
  11. Guhathakurta H, Kaviraj A (2004) Effects of salinity and mangrove detritus on desorption of metals from brackish water desorption of metals from brackish water and shrimp. Acta Hydrochimica Et Hydrobiologica 32:411–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hakanson L (1980) An ecological risk index for aquatic pollution control. A sedimentological approach. Water Res 14:975–1001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hang X, Wang H, Zhou J, Ma C, Du C, Chen X (2009) Risk assessment of potentially toxic element pollution in soils and rice (Oryza sativa) in a typical area of the Yangtze River Delta. Environ Pollut 157:2542–2549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jain C (2004) Metal fractionation study on bed sediments of River Yamuna, India. Water Res 38:569–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jha PK, Subramanian V, Sitasawad R, Van Grieken R (1990) Heavy metals in sediments of the Yamura River (a tributary of the Ganges). India Sci Total Environ 95:7–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jiao W, Lu SY, Li GD JXC, Yu H, Cai MM (2010) Heavy metal pollution of main inflow and outflow rivers around the Taihu Lake and assessment of its potential ecological risk. Chin J Appl Environ BiolGoogle Scholar
  17. Karadede-Akin H, Ünlü E (2007) Heavy metal concentrations in water, sediment, fish and some benthic organisms from Tigris River, Turkey. Environ Monit Assess 131:323–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Klavinš M, Briede A, Rodinov V, Kokorite I, Parele E, Klavina I (2000) Heavy metals in rivers of Latvia. Sci Total Environ 262:175–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lin AYC, Panchangam SC, Ciou PS (2010) High levels of perfluorochemicals in Taiwan’s wastewater treatment plants and downstream rivers pose great risk to local aquatic ecosystems. Chemosphere 80:1167–1174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lindsay W, Norvell WA (1978) Development of a DTPA soil test for zinc, iron, manganese, and copper. Soil Sci Soc Am J 42:421–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Liu J, Li Y, Zhang B, Cao J, Cao Z, Domagalski J (2009) Ecological risk of heavy metals in sediments of the Luan River source water. Ecotoxicology 18:748–758CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Long H, Zou J, Liu Y (2009) Differentiation of rural development driven by industrialization and urbanization in eastern coastal China. Habitat Int 33:454–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nakajima A, Sakaguchi T (1986) Selective accumulation of heavy metals by microorganisms. Appl Microbiol Biot 24:59–64Google Scholar
  24. Nemati K, Bakar NKA, Abas MR, Sobhanzadeh E (2011) Speciation of heavy metals by modified BCR sequential extraction procedure in different depths of sediments from Sungai Buloh, Selangor, Malaysia. J Hazard Mater 192:402–410Google Scholar
  25. Niu H, Deng W, Wu Q, Chen X (2009) Potential toxic risk of heavy metals from sediment of the Pearl River in South China. J Environ Sci-China 21:1053–1058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ongley ED ZXL, Tao Y (2010) Current status of agricultural and rural non-point source pollution assessment in China. Environ Pollut 158:1159–1168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pérez G, López-Mesas M, Valiente M (2008) Assessment of heavy metals remobilization by fractionation: comparison of leaching tests applied to roadside sediments. Environ Sci Technol 42:2309–2315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Passos EDA, Alves JC, Dos Santos IS, Alves JDPH, Garcia CAB, Spinola Costa AC (2010) Assessment of trace metals contamination in estuarine sediments using a sequential extraction technique and principal component analysis. Microchem J 96:50–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pempkowiak J, Sikora A, Biernacka E (1999) Speciation of heavy metals in marine sediments vs their bioaccumulation by mussels. Chemosphere 39:313–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rauret G, Lopez-Sanchez J, Sahuquillo A, Rubio R, Davidson C, Ure A, Quevauviller P (1999) Improvement of the BCR three step sequential extraction procedure prior to the certification of new sediment and soil reference materials. J Environ Monit 1:57–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sahuquillo A, Lopez-Sanchez J, Rubio R, Rauret G, Thomas R, Davidson C, Ure A (1999) Use of a certified reference material for extractable trace metals to assess sources of uncertainty in the BCR three-stage sequential extraction procedure. Anal Chim Acta 382:317–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sheykhi V, Moore F (2013) Evaluation of potentially toxic metals pollution in the sediments of the Kor river, southwest Iran. Environ Monit Assess 185:3219–3232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Suthar S, Nema AK, Chabukdhara M, Gupta SK (2009) Assessment of metals in water and sediments of Hindon River, India: impact of industrial and urban discharges. J Hazard Mater 171:1088–1095CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ure A, Quevauviller P, Muntau H, Griepink B (1993) Speciation of heavy metals in soils and sediments. An account of the improvement and harmonization of extraction techniques undertaken under the auspices of the BCR of the Commission of the European Communities. Int J Environ An Ch 51:135–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Varol M (2011) Assessment of heavy metal contamination in sediments of the Tigris River (Turkey) using pollution indices and multivariate statistical techniques. J Hazard Mater 195:355–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wang M, Webber M, Finlayson B, Barnett J (2008) Rural industries and water pollution in China. J Environ Manage 86:648–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wei FS, Chen JS, Wu YY (1990) Background values of soil elements in China. China Environmental Science Press, Beijing (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  38. Yang Z, Wang Y, Shen Z, Niu J, Tang Z (2009) Distribution and speciation of heavy metals in sediments from the mainstream, tributaries, and lakes of the Yangtze River catchment of Wuhan, China. J Hazard Mater 166:1186–1194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yap CK, Ismail A, Tan SG, Omar H (2002) Correlations between speciation of Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn in sediment and their concentrations in total soft tissue of green-lipped mussel Perna viridis from the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Environ Int 28:117–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yi Y, Yang Z, Zhang S (2011) Ecological risk assessment of heavy metals in sediment and human health risk assessment of heavy metals in fishes in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River basin. Environ Pollut 159:2575–2585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Yu R, Hu G, Wang L (2010) Speciation and ecological risk of heavy metals in intertidal sediments of Quanzhou Bay, China. Environ Monit Assess 163:241–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Yu T, Zhang Y, Hu XN, Meng W (2012) Distribution and bioaccumulation of heavy metals in aquatic organisms of different trophic levels and potential health risk assessment from Taihu lake, China. Ecotox Environ Safe 81:55–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhang G, Wang DJ, Chen XM (2007) Roles of buffer strips in reducing nutrient loss from paddy field in Taihu Lake region. Acta Pedol Sin 44:873–877 (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  44. Zheng N, Wang Q, Zhang X, Zheng D, Zhang Z, Zhang S (2007) Population health risk due to dietary intake of heavy metals in the industrial area of Huludao city, China. Sci Total Environ 387:96–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luji Bo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dejian Wang
    • 1
  • Tianling Li
    • 3
  • Yan Li
    • 2
  • Gang Zhang
    • 1
  • Can Wang
    • 1
  • Shanqing Zhang
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Agricultural Resources and EnvironmentShandong Academy of Agricultural SciencesJinanChina
  3. 3.Environmental Futures Centre and School of EnvironmentGriffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia

Personalised recommendations