Oyster Saccostrea cucullata as a Biomonitor for Hg Contamination and the Risk to Humans on the Coast of Qeshm Island, Persian Gulf, Iran

  • Golshan Shirneshan
  • Alireza Riyahi Bakhtiari
  • Ali Kazemi
  • Mohsen Mohamadi
  • Nabiallah Kheirabadi


A total of 174 individuals of rocky oysters (Saccostrea cucullata) and 35 surface sediment samples were collected from seven stations off the intertidal zones of Qeshm Island, Persian Gulf, in order to study the concentration of mercury in oysters’ tissues, and to investigate whether mercury concentrations in the edible soft tissues are within the permissible limits for public health. The average mercury concentrations were found as 3.44, 50.66 and 2.29 μg kg−1 dw in the sediments, soft tissues and shells of the oysters, respectively. Results indicated that the levels of mercury in sediment differed significantly between the stations. In addition, results confirmed that the soft tissues of oysters could be a good indicator of mercury in the aquatic system. In comparison with food safety standards, mercury levels in oysters were well within the permissible limits for human consumption.


Mercury Surface sediment Saccostrea cucullata Qeshm Island Persian Gulf 



This study was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Iran, which provided partial funding for this project. We thank Miss Gafari, Miss Ebrahimi, and Mrs. Mortazavi from the Faculty of Natural Resources and Marine Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University for their kind assistance in the collection of oyster samples.


  1. Affizah N, Vedamanikam V, Shazilli N (2009) Concentration of arsenic and mercury in theoyster (Crassostrea iredalei) from Setiu lagoon, Terengganu. Toxicol Environ Chem 91:259–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agah H, Leermakers M, Elskens M, Fatemi SMR, Baeyens W (2007) Total mercury and methyl mercury concentrations in fish from the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. Water Air Soil Pollut 181:95–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Al-Majed N, Preston M (2000) Factors influencing the total mercury and methyl mercury in the hair of the fishermen of Kuwait. Environ Pollut 109:239–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Engel D (1999) Accumulation and cytosolic partitioning of metals in the American oyster Crassostrea virginica. Mar Environ Res 47:89–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. EU Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006Google Scholar
  6. FDA (2001) Guidance documents for trace elements in seafood. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Food and Drug Administration, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  7. Gagnaire B, Thomas-Guyon H, Renault T (2004) In vitro effects of cadmium and mercury on Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg), haemocytes. Fish Shellfish Immunol 16:501–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Garcia-Rico L, Ruiz RER, Jimenez JV (2001) Determination of total metals in cultivated oysters (Crassostrea gigas) from the northwest coast of Mexico by microwave digestion and atomic absorption spectrometry. J AOAC Int 84:1909–1913Google Scholar
  9. Ke C, Wang WX (2001) Bioaccumulation of Cd, Se, and Zn in an estuarine oyster (Crassostrea rivularis) and a coastal oyster (Saccostrea glomerata). Aquat Toxicol 56:33–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mercola J, Klinghardt D (2001) Mercury toxicity and systemic elimination agents. J Nutr Environ Med 11:53–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Nasreddine L, Parent-Massin D (2002) Food contamination by metals and pesticides in the European Union. Should we worry? Toxicol Lett 127:29–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Odzak N, Zvonaric T, Kljakovic Gaspic Z, Horvat M, Baric A (2000) Biomonitoring of mercury in the Katela Bay using transplanted mussels. Sci Total Environ 261:61–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Peerzada N, Watson D, Guinea M (1993) Mercury concentrations in oysters from the coastline of Northern Territory, Australia. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 50:158–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pirrone N, Cinnirella S, Feng X, Finkelman R, Friedli H, Leaner J, Mason R, Mukherjee A, Stracher G, Streets D (2010) Global mercury emissions to the atmosphere from anthropogenic and natural sources. Atmos Chem Phys 10:5951–5964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rojas de Astudillo L, Chang Yen I, Bekele I (2005) Heavy metals in sediments, mussels and oysters from Trinidad and Venezuela. Rev Biol Trop 53:41–51Google Scholar
  16. Sajwan KS, Kumar KS, Paramasivam S, Compton SS, Richardson JP (2008) Elemental status in sediment and American oyster collected from Savannah marsh/estuarine ecosystem: a preliminary assessment. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 54:245–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sarafraz S, Khani M, Yaghmaeian K (2007) Quality and quantity survey of hospital wastewaters in Hormozgan province. IJEHSE 4:43–50Google Scholar
  18. Wilkinson JM (2000) What do we know about herbal morning sickness treatment? A literature survey. Midwifery 16:224–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Yap CK, Tan SG, Ismail A, Omar H (2002) Genetic variation of green-lipped mussel Perna viridis (Linnaeus) from the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Zool Stud 41:376–387Google Scholar
  20. Yap C, Ismail A, Tan S, Rahim Ismail A (2004) Assessment of different soft tissues of the green-lipped mussel Perna viridis (Linnaeus) as biomonitoring agents of Pb: field and laboratory studies. Water Air Soil Pollut 153:253–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Zireva D, Fanadzo M, Mashingaidze A (2007) Effect of substrate quality and shelf position yield of mushroom (Pleurotus sajor-caju). Pak J Biol Sci 10:3458–3461CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Golshan Shirneshan
    • 1
  • Alireza Riyahi Bakhtiari
    • 1
  • Ali Kazemi
    • 1
  • Mohsen Mohamadi
    • 1
  • Nabiallah Kheirabadi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural Resource and Marine ScienceTarbiat Modares UniversityNoorIran

Personalised recommendations