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Determination of heavy metals in muscle tissue of six fish species with different feeding habits from the Danube River, Belgrade—public health and environmental risk assessment


The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of heavy metals/metalloids (Pb, Cd, Hg, Cu, Fe, Zn, As) in the muscle tissue of fish from the Danube River (two locations: Zemun and Grocka). For the purpose of heavy metal determination in fish muscle, 120 samples of six different fish species, Prussian carp, barbel, bream, carp, pike perch, and catfish were collected. For determining heavy metals, we used microwave oven digestion and atomic absorption spectrometer methods. The highest average content of Pb (0.084 ± 0.004 mg kg−1), Cd (0.082 ± 0.003 mg kg−1), Hg (0.466 ± 0.006 mg kg−1), and As (0.333 ± 0.007 mg kg−1) was found in the muscle of carp (an omnivorous fish) from Grocka, while the highest average level of Fe (13.60 ± 0.03 mg kg−1) was deposited in bream (also omnivorous) from Zemun. Also, the average Cu level (1.62 ± 0.13 mg kg−1) was the highest in catfish muscle (a carnivorous fish) from Grocka, while the highest Zn content (11.16 ± 0.17 mg kg−1) was determined in muscle of Prussian carp (an omnivorous fish) from Zemun. The highest content of heavy metals (Cu, Fe, and Zn, respectively) in muscle of the six different types of fish from both locations was symmetrically arranged by species (catfish, barbel, and Prussian carp, respectively). Concentrations of Pb, Hg, and As in the Danube River fish muscle were under the maximum residual levels prescribed by the European Union (EU) and the maximum allowed concentrations (MAC) for Serbia. On the other hand, in all fish muscle from both locations (Zemun and Grocka), higher concentrations of Cd than prescribed (MAC) were found, with the exception of bream and pike perch.

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This paper was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Republic of Serbia, via the project TR 31011.

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Correspondence to Dragoljub A. Jovanović.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Jovanović, D.A., Marković, R.V., Teodorović, V.B. et al. Determination of heavy metals in muscle tissue of six fish species with different feeding habits from the Danube River, Belgrade—public health and environmental risk assessment. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 11383–11391 (2017).

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  • Danube
  • Fish
  • Heavy metals
  • Nutrition