Accumulation of metals relevant for agricultural contamination in gills of European chub (Squalius cephalus)

Abstract

The study of metal bioaccumulation in the gills of European chub (Squalius cephalus) was conducted in September 2009 at the medium-sized rural river Sutla, characterized by agricultural and municipal type of water contamination. The concentration ranges were established for the first time in the soluble, metabolically available fractions of chub gills for 12 metals, which are environmentally extremely relevant and yet only seldom studied, as follows in a decreasing order: K, 225–895 mg L−1; Na, 78–366 mg L−1; Ca, 19–62 mg L−1; Mg, 13–47 mg L−1; Rb, 164–1762 μg L−1; Sr, 24–81 μg L−1; Ba, 13–67 μg L−1; Mo, 1.3–16 μg L−1; Co, 0.7–2.7 μg L−1; Li, 0.4–2.2 μg L−1; Cs, 0.2–1.9 μg L−1; and V, 0.1–1.8 μg L−1. The concentrations of Fe (1.6–6.4 mg L−1) and Mn (16–69 μg L−1) were also determined and were in agreement with previous reports. By application of general linear modelling, the influence of different abiotic (metal exposure level) and biotic parameters (fish sex, age, size and condition) on metal bioaccumulation was tested. It was established that bioaccumulation of many metals in fish depended on various physiological conditions, wherein Ba could be singled out as metal exhibiting the strongest association with one of biotic parameters, being significantly higher in smaller fish. However, it was also undoubtedly demonstrated that the concentrations of three metals can be applied as reliable indicators of metal exposure even in the conditions of low or moderate water contamination, such as observed in the Sutla River, and those were nonessential elements Li and Cs and essential element Fe. The results of our study present an important contribution to maintenance of high ecological status of European freshwaters, through enrichment of knowledge on the bioaccumulation of various metals in gills of European chub as frequently applied bioindicator species in monitoring of water pollution.

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Acknowledgements

The financial support by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport of the Republic of Croatia (project No. 098-0982934-2721) is acknowledged. This study was carried out as a part of the Monitoring of freshwater fishery in 2009—Group D—Fishing area Sava River—Sutla River, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of the Republic of Croatia. Special thanks are due to †Branko Španović, Dr. Božidar Kurtović, Dr. Damir Valić, Dr. Damir Kapetanović, Dr. Irena Vardić Smrzlić, Dr. Zlatica Teskeredžić, Dr. Biserka Raspor and Željka Strižak Balog, B.Sc. for collaboration on the common fish sampling and determination of fish biometric parameters, as well as to Dr. Nevenka Mikac and Dr. Željka Fiket for the help with the metal analysis and for the opportunity to use the HR ICP-MS.

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Correspondence to Zrinka Dragun.

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Dragun, Z., Tepić, N., Krasnići, N. et al. Accumulation of metals relevant for agricultural contamination in gills of European chub (Squalius cephalus). Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 16802–16815 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-016-6830-y

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Keywords

  • Bioaccumulation
  • Contamination
  • European chub
  • Gills
  • Metals
  • River