In this study, the role of aquaculture activity as a source of selected metals was analyzed. Significant differences in element content between cultured (Dicentrarchus labrax, Sparus aurata) and wild fishes as well as between fish muscle and their feed were detected. Higher concentrations of trace elements (i.e., As, Cu, Hg, Se) in wild fish tissues in comparison with cultured ones indicate additional sources of metals beside fish feed as natural and/or anthropogenic sources. Generally, mean Cd, Cu, Pb, Se, and Zn concentrations in cultured (0.016, 1.79, 0.14, 0.87, and 34.32 μg/g, respectively) and wild (0.011, 1.97, 0.10, 1.78, and 23,54 μg/g, respectively) fish samples were below the permissible levels, while mean As (2.57 μg/g in cultured, 4.77 μg/g in wild) and Cr (5.25 μg/g in cultured, 2.92 μg/g in wild) values exceeded those limits. Hg values were lower in cultured (0.17 μg/g) and higher in wild (1.04 μg/g) fish specimens. The highest elemental concentrations were observed in almost all fish samples from Korčula sampling site. The smallest cultured sea basses showed As (4.01 μg/g), Cr (49.10 μg/g), Pb (0.65 μg/g), and Zn (136 μg/g) concentrations above the recommended limits; however, values decreased as fish size increased. Therefore, the majority of metal concentrations in commercial fishes showed no problems for human consumption. Also calculated Se:Hg molar ratios (all >1) and selenium health benefit values (Se-HBVs) (all positive) showed that consumption of all observed fishes in human nutrition is not risk.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Alam, M. G. M., Tanaka, A., Allinson, G., Laurenson, L. J. B., Stagnitti, F., & Show, E. T. (2002). A comparison of trace element concentrations in cultured and wild carp (Cyprinus carpio) of Lake Kasumigaura, Japan. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 53, 348–354.
Al-Yousuf, M. H., El-Shahawi, M. S., & Al-Ghais, S. M. (2000). Trace metals in liver, skin and muscle of Lethrinus lentjan fish species in relation to body length and sex. Sciences of Total Environment, 256, 87–94.
Ames, B. M. (1998). Micronutrients prevent cancer and delay ageing. Toxicology Letters, 102, 5–18.
Belias, C., & Dassenakis, M. (2002). Environmental problems in the development of marine fish-farming in the Mediterranean Sea. Ocean Challenge, 12(1), 11–16.
Biladžić, N., Đokić, M., & Sedak, M. (2011). Metal content determination in four fish species from the Adriatic Sea. Food Chemistry, 124, 1005–1010.
BOE (Boletín Oficial del Estado or Official Gazette). (1991). Normas microbiolόgicas, límites de contenido en metales pesados y métodos analíticos para la determinaciόn de metales pesados para los productos de la pesca y de la agricultura (Microbiological standards, limits on heavy metal content, and analytical methods for determining the heavy metal content of fishery and agricultural products). In BOE (Eds.) (p. 5937–5941). August 2 Order. Madrid, Spain.
Burger, J., & Gochfeld, M. (2005). Heavy metals in commercial fish in New Jersey. Environmental Research, 99, 403–412.
Burger, J., & Gochfeld, M. (2011). Mercury and selenium levels in 19 species of saltwater fish from New Jersey as a function of species, size, and season. Science of the Total Environment, 409, 1418–1429.
Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Jeitner, C., Burke, S., & Stamm, T. (2007). Metal levels in flated sole (Hoppoglossoides elassodon) and great sculpin (Myoxocephalus polyacanthocephalus) from Adak Island, Alaska: Potential risk to predators and fishermen. Environmnetal Research, 103, 62–69.
Canli, M., & Atli, G. (2003). The relationship between heavy metal (Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Zn) levels and the size of six Mediterranean fish species. Environmental Pollution, 121, 129–136.
Çelik, U., Cakli, S., & Oehlenschläger, J. (2004). Determination of the lead and cadmium burden in some northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean fish species by DPSAV. European Food Research and Technology, 218, 298–305.
Çelik, U., & Oehlenschläger, J. (2005). Zinc and cooper content in marine fish samples collected from the eastern Mediterranean Sea. European Food Research and Technology, 220, 37–41.
Cid, B. P., Boia, C., Pombo, L., & Rebelo, E. (2001). Determination of trace metals I fish species of the Ria de Aveiro (Portugal) by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry. Food Chemistry, 75, 93–100.
Copat, C., Bella, F., Castaing, M., Fallico, R., Sciacca, S., & Ferrante, M. (2012). Heavy metals concentrations in fish from Sicily (Mediterranean Sea) and evaluation of possible health risks to consumers. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 80, 78–83.
Demirak, A., Yilmaz, F., LeventTuna, A., & Ozdemir, N. (2006). Heavy metals in water, sediment and tissues of Leuciscus cephalus from a stream in southwestern Turkey. Chemosphere, 63, 1451–1458.
Douben, P. E. (1989). Lead and cadmium in stone loach (Noemacheilus barbatulus L.) from three rivers in Derbyshire. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 18, 35–58.
Dugo, G., La Pera, L., Bruzzese, A., Pellicanò, T. M., & Lo Turco, V. (2006). Concentration of Cd (II), Cu (II), Pb (II), Se (IV) and Zn (II) in cultured sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) tissues from Tyrrhenian Sea and Sicilian Sea by derivative stripping potentiometry. Food Control, 17, 146–152.
Dural, M., Göksu, M. Z. L., & Özak, A. A. (2007). Investigation of heavy metals in economically important fish species captured from Tuzla lagoon. Food Chemistry, 102, 415–421.
EC. (2001). Commission Regulation (EC) No 466/2001of 8 March 2001 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs. Official Journal of the European Communities, L77, 1–25.
Ersoy, B., Yanar, Y., Küçükgülmez, A., & Çelik, M. (2006). Effects of four cooking methods on the heavy metal concentrations of sea bass fillets (Dicentrarchus labrax Linne, 1785). Food Chemistry, 99, 748–751.
Evans, D. W., Dodoo, D. K., & Hanson, P. J. (1993). Trace element concentrations in fish livers. Implications of variations with fish size in pollution monitoring. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 26(6), 329–334.
Fallah, A. A., Saei-Dehkordi, S. S., Nematollahi, A., & Jafari, T. (2011). Comparative study of heavy metal and trace element accumulation in edible tissues of farmed and wild rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) using ICP-OES technique. Microchemical Journal, 98, 275–279.
Fernandes, C., Fontaínhas-Fernandes, A., Peixoto, F., & Salgado, M. A. (2007). Bioaccu- mulation of heavy metals in Liza saliens from the Esmoriz-Paramos coastal lagoon, Portugal. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 66, 426–431.
Ganther, H. E., Goudie, C., Sunde, M. L., Kopecky, M. J., Wagner, P., Oh, S.-H., et al. (1972). Relation to decreased toxicity of methylmercury added to diets containing tuna. Science, 72, 1122–1124.
Heath, A. G. (1987). Water pollution and fish physiology. Florida: CRC press.
Henry, F., Amara, R., Courcot, L., Lacouture, D., & Bertho, M.-L. (2004). Heavy metals in four fish species from the French coast of the Eastern English Channel and Southern Bight of the North Sea. Environmental International, 30, 675–683.
Kalay, M., & Canli, M. (2000). Elimination of essential (Cu, Zn) and non-essential (Cd, Pb) metals from tissues of a freshwater fish Tilapia zilli. Türk Zooloji Dergisi, 24, 429.
Kaneko, J. J., & Ralston, N. V. C. (2007). Selenium and mercury in pelagic fish in the central north Pacific near Hawaii. Biological Trace Metal Research, 119, 242–254.
Kljaković Gašpić, Z., Zvonarić, T., Vrgoč, N., Odžak, N., & Barić, A. (2002). Cadmium and lead in selected tissues of two commercially important fish species from the Adriatic Sea. Water Research, 36, 5023–5028.
Kucuksezgin, F., Kontas, A., & Uluturhan, E. (2011). Evaluations of heavy metal pollution in sediment and Mullus barbatus from Izmir Bay (Eastern Aegean) during 1997–2009. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62, 1562–1571.
Langston, W. J. (1990). Toxic effects of metals and the incidence of marine ecosystems. In R. W. Furness & P. S. Rainbow (Eds.), Heavy metals in the marine environment. New York: CRC Press.
Liang, P., Shao, D.-D., Wu, S.-C., Shi, J.-B., Sun, X.-L., Wu, F.-Y., et al. (2011). The influence of mariculture in the mercury distribution in sediments and fish around Hong Kong and adjacent mainland China waters. Chemosphere, 82, 1038–1043.
Liu, B., Yan, H., Wang, C., Li, Q., Guédron, S., Spangenberg, J. E., et al. (2012). Insight into low fish mercury bioaccumulation in a mercury-contaminated reservoir, Guizhou, China. Environmental Pollution, 160, 109–117.
Maceda-Veiga, A., Monroy, M., & de Sostoa, A. (2012). Metal bioaccumulation in the Mediterranean barbel (Barbus meridionalis) in a Mediterranean River receiving effluents from urban and industrial wastewater treatment plants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 76, 93–101.
MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food). (1995). Monitoring and surveillance of non-radioactive contaminants in the aquatic environment and activities regulating the disposal of wastes at sea, 1993. Aquatic Environment Monitoring Report, No. 44. Directorate of Fisheries Research, Lowestoft, UK.
MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food). (2000). Monitoring and surveillance of non-radioactive contaminants of wastes at Sea, 1997. Aquatic Environment Monitoring Report No. 52. Center for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. Lowestoft, UK.
Mieiro, C. L., Pacheco, M., Duarte, A. C., & Pereira, M. E. (2011). Fish consumption and risk of contamination by mercury—Considerations on the definition of edible parts based on the case study of European sea bass. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62, 2850–2853.
Mužimić, P. (1966). Osnovna geološka karta SFRJ 1: 100.000. Tumač za list Šibenik K 33-8. Zvezni geološki zavod Beograd, Beograd.
Nauen, C. E. (1983). Compilation of legal limits for hazardous substances in fish and fishery products. Rome: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Nussey, G., Van Vuren, J. H. J., & du Preez, H. H. (2000). Bioaccumulation of chromium, manganese, nickel and lead in the tissues of the moggel, Labeo umbratus (Cyprinidae), from Witbank dam, Mpumalanga. Water Sa, 26, 269–284.
Onsanit, S., Chen, M., Ke, C., & Wang, W.-X. (2012). Mercury and stable isotope signatures in caged marine fish and fish feeds. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 203–204, 13–21.
Ordinance, (2008). Ordinance setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs. Official Gazette, 154, 4198.
Papagiannis, I., Kagalou, I., Leonardos, J., Petridis, D., & Kalfakakou, V. (2004). Cooper and zinc in four freshwater fish species from Lake Pamvotis (Greece). Environmental International, 30, 357–362.
Percın, F., Sogut, O., Altınelataman, C., & Soylak, M. (2011). Some trace elements in front and rear dorsal ordinary muscles of wild and farmed Bluefin tuna (Thunnus fhynnus L.1758) in Turkish part of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 49, 1006–1010.
Poli, M. B., Parisi, G., Zambracavallo, G., Mecotti, L., Lupi, P., Gualtieri, M., et al. (2001). Quality outline of European sea bass reared in Italy: Shelf life, edible yield, nutritional and dietetic traits. Aquaculture, 202, 303–315.
Qiu, Y.-W., Lin, D., Liu, J.-Q., & Zeng, E. Y. (2011). Bioaccumulation of trace metals in farmed fish from South China and potential risk assessment. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 74, 284–293.
Ralston, N. V. C. (2008). Selenium health benefit values as seafood safety criteria. EcoHealth, 5, 442–455.
Ralston, N. V. C., Balckwell, J. L., & Raymond, L. J. (2007). Importance of molar ratios in selenium-dependent protection against methylmercury toxicity. Biological Trace Metal Research, 119, 255–268.
Ralston, N. V. C., Ralston, C. R., Balckwell, J. L., & Raymond, L. J. (2008). Dietary and tissue selenium in relation to methylmercury toxicity. Neuro Toxicology, 29, 802–811.
Ricart, M., Guasch, H., Barcelό, D., Brix, R., Conceição, M. H., Geiszinger, A., et al. (2010). Primary and complex stressors in polluted mediterranean rivers: Pesticide effects on biological communities. Journal of Hydrology, 383, 52–61.
Roesijadi, G., & Robinson, W. E. (1994). Metal regulation in aquatic animals: Mechanism of uptake, accumulation and release. In D. C. Malins & G. K. Ostrander (Eds.), Aquatic toxicology (molecular, biochemical and cellular perspectives). London: Lewis Publishers.
Sepe, A., Ciaralli, L., Ciprotti, M., Giordano, R., Funari, E., & Costantini, S. (2003). Determination of cadmium, chromium, lead and vanadium in six fish species from the Adriatic Sea. Food Additives & Contaminants, 20(6), 543–552.
TKB. (2002). Fisheries laws and regulations. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Conservation and Control General Management. Ankara, Turkey.
Tovar, A., Moreno, C., Mánuel-Vez, M. P., & García-Vergas, M. (2000). Environmental impacts of intensive aquaculture in marine waters. Water Research, 34, 334–342.
Türkmen, A., Türkmen, M., Tepe, Y., & Akyurt, İ. (2005). Heavy metals in three commercially valuable fish species from İskenderun Bay, Northern East Mediterranean sea, Turkey. Food Chemistry, 91, 167–172.
Türkmen, M., Türkmen, A., Tepe, Y., Ateş, A., & Gökkuş, K. (2008). Determination of metal contaminations in sea foods from Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean seas: Twelve fish species. Food Chemistry, 108, 794–800.
Usero, J., Izquierdo, C., Morillo, J., & Gracia, I. (2003). Heavy metals in fish (Solea vulgaris, Anguilla Anguilla and Liza aurata) from salt marshes on the southern Atlantic coast of Spain. Environmental International, 29, 949–956.
Uysal, K., Köse, E., Bülbül, M., Dönmez, M., Erdogan, Y., Koyun, M., et al. (2009). The comparison of heavy metal accumulation ratios of some fish species in Enne Dame Lake (Kütahya/Turkey). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 157, 355–362.
Verbovšek, T. (2011). A comparison of parameters below the limit of detection in geochemical analyses by substitution methods. Materials and Geoenvironment, 58(4), 393–404.
Widianarko, B., Van Gestel, C. A. M., Verweij, R. A., & Van Straalen, N. M. (2000). Associations between trace metals in sediment, water, and guppy, Poecilia reticulata (Peters), from urban streams of Samarang, Indonesia. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 46, 101–107.
Yılmaz, F., Özdemir, N., Demirak, A., & Tuna, A. L. (2007). Heavy metal levels in two fish species Leuciscus cephalus and Lepomis gibbosus. Food Chemistry, 100, 830–835.
Žvab Rožič, P., Dolenec, T., Baždarić, B., Karamarko, V., & Dolenec, M. (2012). Major, minor and trace element content derived from aquacultural activity of marine sediments (Central Adriatic, Croatia). Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 19, 2708–2712.
The research was financially supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Republic of Slovenia (Bilateral projects between Croatia and Slovenia 2001–2009), the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS), and Geoexp, d.o.o., Tržič, Slovenia. Thanks are also due to my husband Boštjan Rožič for his technical and moral support.
About this article
Cite this article
Žvab Rožič, P., Dolenec, T., Baždarić, B. et al. Element levels in cultured and wild sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) from the Adriatic Sea and potential risk assessment. Environ Geochem Health 36, 19–39 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-013-9516-0