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Seasonal Variability in Cadmium, Lead, Copper, Zinc and Iron Concentrations in the Three Major Fish Species, Oreochromis niloticus, Lates niloticus and Rastrineobola argentea in Winam Gulf, Lake Victoria: Impact of Wash-Off into the Lake


Trace metals Cadmium (Cd), Lead (Pb), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn) and Iron (Fe) were analyzed in edible portions of three main finfish species namely Lates niloticus, Oreochromis niloticus and Rastrineobola argentea sampled from various beaches of Winam Gulf, Lake Victoria, Kenya, in order to determine any seasonal and site variations and the results showed significantly (p < 0.05) higher mean concentrations of Cd, Cu, Zn and Fe during the wet season compared to the dry season for all the three species indicating the impact of wash-off into the lake during the rainy periods. The overall mean concentrations of the heavy metals (in μg/g dry weight) in all combined samples ranged from 0.17–0.40 (Cd), 0.47–2.53 (Pb), 2.13–8.74 (Cu), 28.9–409.3 (Zn) and 31.4–208.1 (Fe), respectively. It was found that consumption of Rastrineobola argentea can be a significant source of heavy metals especially Zn, to humans, compared with Lates niloticus and Oreochromis niloticus, if only the muscle parts of the latter two are consumed.

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The authors are grateful to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship for J.O. Lalah, through the Maseno University—Institute of Ecological Chemistry, Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, Group Linkage project, which enabled the preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Joseph O. Lalah.

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Ongeri, D.M.K., Lalah, J.O., Wandiga, S.O. et al. Seasonal Variability in Cadmium, Lead, Copper, Zinc and Iron Concentrations in the Three Major Fish Species, Oreochromis niloticus, Lates niloticus and Rastrineobola argentea in Winam Gulf, Lake Victoria: Impact of Wash-Off into the Lake. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 88, 166–171 (2012).

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  • Fish
  • Human-consumption
  • Heavy-metals
  • Lake Victoria