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Hg and Se composition in demersal deep-sea fish from the North-East Atlantic

A Correction to this article was published on 06 July 2020

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It has been emphasized that seafood consumers may have a higher risk of mercury (Hg) exposure. Nevertheless, the co-occurrence of selenium (Se) in organisms may affect the toxicity and bioavailability of Hg. In this work, we aim to demonstrate the possible role of Se as a potential protective element against Hg in muscle and liver tissues of three demersal deep-sea fish species: common mora Mora moro, birdbeak dogfish Deania calcea, and smooth lanternshark Etmopterus pusillus. Comparing species, the birdbeak dogfish D. calcea showed the highest Hg concentrations, the lowest Se levels, the lowest mean Se:Hg molar ratio, a negative HBV-Se index, and no correlation between total length. On the other hand, smooth lanternshark E. pusillus showed the lowest Hg concentrations, the highest Se concentrations, the highest mean Se:Hg molar ratio, a positive HBV-Se index, and a significant positive correlation between total length and Se concentrations in muscle. Comparing tissues, the common mora Mora moro seems to accumulate more Hg and Se in liver than shark species D. calcea and E. pusillus that showed to accumulate Hg and Se preferentially in muscle. Our results indicate that these three species for having Hg concentrations near and above the EU regulatory thresholds and for presenting low Se:Hg ratios, and negative (or low positive) HBV-Se index may pose a real risk of Hg toxicity for the consumer.

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  • 06 July 2020

    The correct Table 2 is presented in this paper.


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This work was conducted under the framework of the projects CONDOR (PT-0040), co-financed by a Grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway through the EEA Financial Mechanism, SMaRT financed by SRECC (ref. M.2.1.2/029/2011) and SEAMOV (PTDC/MAR/108232/2008). We are grateful to all the crew members of the RV “Arquipélago” for their invaluable help during fishing operations. Data collection would not have been possible without the contribution of all the participants on the cruises in particular to Alexandra Rosa, Diana Catarino, and Eva Giacomello. The authors also would like to thank Luis Pires for his collaborative support during lab work. This study had the support of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), through the strategic project UID/MAR/04292/2013 granted to MARE. IM and JR received finance from SFRH/BPD/73481/2010 and SFRH/BPD/91498/2012 postdoctoral grant, respectively.

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Conceptualization: IM, MP, and JR; methodology: GT, IM, VC, and JR.; investigation: IM, MP, and GM; writing, original draft: GT, JG, and IM; writing, review, and editing: all the authors; funding acquisition: GM; Supervision: IM and MP.

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Correspondence to Inês Martins.

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Responsible editor: Vedula VSS Sarma

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The original article was revised: The correct Table 2 is presented in this paper.

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Teixeira, G., Raimundo, J., Goulart, J. et al. Hg and Se composition in demersal deep-sea fish from the North-East Atlantic. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 33649–33657 (2020).

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  • Demersal fish
  • Selenium
  • Mercury
  • Molar ratio
  • Azores
  • Consumption risks