Trace Metals in Noah’s Ark Shells (Arca noae Linnaeus, 1758): Impact of Tourist Season and Human Health Risk

  • Dušica Ivanković
  • Marijana ErkEmail author
  • Ivan Župan
  • Jelena Čulin
  • Zrinka Dragun
  • Niko Bačić
  • Ana-Marija Cindrić


Commercially important bivalve Noah’s Ark shell (Arca noae Linnaeus, 1758) represents a high-quality seafood product, but the data on levels of metal contaminants that could pose a human health risk and also on some essential elements that are important for health protection are lacking. This study examined the concentrations of Cd, Pb, Cr, Ni, Cu, Co, and Zn in the soft tissue of A. noae from harvesting area in the central Adriatic Sea, to survey whether heavy metals are within the acceptable limits for public health and whether tourism could have an impact on them. The concentrations of analysed metals varied for Cd: 0.15–0.74, Pb: 0.06–0.26, Cr: 0.11–0.34, Ni: 0.09–0.22, Cu: 0.65–1.95, Co: 0.04–0.09, and Zn: 18.3–74.7 mg/kg wet weight. These levels were lower than the permissible limits for safe consummation of seafood, and only for Cd, some precautions should be taken into account if older shellfish were consumed. Increase of Cd, Cr, and Cu in shell tissue was observed during the tourist season at the site closest to the marine traffic routes, indicating that metal levels in shellfish tissue should be monitored especially carefully during the peak tourist season to prevent eventual toxic effects due to increased intake of metals, specifically of Cd.


International Atomic Energy Agency Maximum Contaminant Level Antifouling Paint Maximum Permissible Level Benchmark Dose 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport of the Republic of Croatia under Grant 098-0982934-2721. Special thanks are due to the colleagues from the Division for Marine and Environmental Research at Ruđer Bošković Institute, Dr. Nevenka Mikac for the opportunity to use HR ICP-MS, Dr. Dario Omanović for the supervision of voltammetric analysis of seawater samples and Dr. Neda Vdović for the analysis of sediment grain size distribution. The authors express their gratitude to Nikolina Baković and Milena Ramov from the management of the Nature Park Telašćica for supporting this research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ruđer Bošković InstituteDivision for Marine and Environmental ResearchZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, Agronomy and AquacultureUniversity of ZadarZadarCroatia
  3. 3.Maritime DepartmentUniversity of ZadarZadarCroatia

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