Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 2, pp 1189–1198 | Cite as

Biomonitoring of heavy metals in fish from the Danube River

  • Snježana ZrnčićEmail author
  • Dražen Oraić
  • Marko Ćaleta
  • Željko Mihaljević
  • Davor Zanella
  • Nina Bilandžić


The Croatian part of the Danube River extends over 188 km and comprises 58 % of the country’s overall area used for commercial freshwater fishing. To date, the heavy metal contamination of fish in the Croatian part of the Danube has not been studied. The main purpose of this study was to determine heavy metal levels in muscle tissue of sampled fish species and to analyze the measured values according to feeding habits of particular groups. Lead ranged from 0.015 μg−1 dry weight in planktivorous to 0.039 μg−1 dry weight in herbivorous fish, cadmium from 0.013 μg−1 dry weight in herbivorous to 0.018 μg−1 dry weight in piscivorous fish, mercury from 0.191 μg−1 dry weight in omnivorous to 0.441 μg−1 dry weight in planktivorous fish and arsenic from 0.018 μg−1 dry weight in planktivorous to 0.039 μg−1 dry weight in omnivorous fish. Among the analyzed metals in muscle tissue of sampled fish, only mercury exceeded the maximal level (0.5 mg kg−1) permitted according to the national and EU regulations determining maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs, indicating a hazard for consumers of fish from the Danube River.


Heavy metals Danube River Freshwater fish Mercury 



This study was carried out as a part of the project “Management of freshwater fisheries on bordering rivers—pilot study with a holistic regional approach” supported by the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management with the Norwegian partner, Akvaplan-niva AS.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Snježana Zrnčić
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dražen Oraić
    • 1
  • Marko Ćaleta
    • 2
  • Željko Mihaljević
    • 1
  • Davor Zanella
    • 2
  • Nina Bilandžić
    • 1
  1. 1.Croatian Veterinary InstituteZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Faculty of Science, Department of ZoologyZagrebCroatia

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