Fisheries Science

, Volume 77, Issue 4, pp 679–686 | Cite as

Selenoneine, total selenium, and total mercury content in the muscle of fishes

  • Yumiko YamashitaEmail author
  • Heidi Amlund
  • Tamami Suzuki
  • Tatsuro Hara
  • Mohammed Anwar Hossain
  • Takeshi Yabu
  • Ken Touhata
  • Michiaki Yamashita
Original Article Food Science and Technology


Levels of the selenium-containing imidazole compound selenoneine and overall organic selenium were measured in the muscle of fishes by speciation analysis. The method involves monitoring 82Se levels by liquid chromatography inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy using a gel filtration column. Selenoneine levels were found to be highest in swordfish muscle (concentration 2.8 nmol/g tissue). The selenoneine contents of bigeye tuna, Pacific bluefin tuna, albacore, yellowfin tuna, and alfonsino muscle were 1.3–2.6 nmol/g tissue. In muscle of these fishes, most organic selenium (9–42%) was present as selenoneine. In other fish species, such as Pacific sardine, greeneye, skipjack, Pacific mackerel, horse mackerel, red sea bream, and Japanese barracuda, selenoneine levels were 0.1–1.4 nmol/g tissue, accounting for 3–34% of organic selenium. In contrast, muscle of Japanese conger, Japanese anchovy, chum salmon, Pacific saury, white croaker, and marbled sole contained levels of selenoneine below the level of detection (<0.05 nmol/g tissue). Mercury and selenium contents were 0.01–5.12 nmol/g tissue and 1.4–19.1 nmol/g tissue. The Se-to-Hg molar ratio varied from species to species, ranging from 1 for swordfish to 217 for marbled sole.


Selenoneine Selenium Mercury Food safety Muscle Fish Seafood 



This work was supported in part by grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Fisheries Research Agency, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Fisheries Science 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yumiko Yamashita
    • 1
    Email author
  • Heidi Amlund
    • 2
  • Tamami Suzuki
    • 1
  • Tatsuro Hara
    • 1
  • Mohammed Anwar Hossain
    • 1
  • Takeshi Yabu
    • 1
  • Ken Touhata
    • 1
  • Michiaki Yamashita
    • 1
  1. 1.National Research Institute of Fisheries ScienceYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES)BergenNorway

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