Mercury cycling and bioaccumulation in a changing coastal system: From water to aquatic organisms.


Instituto Argentino de Oceanografía (IADO - CONICET/UNS), Carrindanga km. 7.5, Bahía Blanca, 8000, Argentina. Electronic address: [Email]


This study evaluated -for the first time- the occurrence and distribution of total Hg in abiotic (dissolved and particulate water fractions) and biotic (gills and muscle tissues of six commercial fish species) compartments within a South American coastal environment with anthropogenic pressure. This study dealt with environmental issues on developing countries which, as they are in continuous growth, face the highest rate of coastal transformation. Total Hg content was determined by acid digestion and measured using a cold vapor atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Results revealed that dissolved Hg exceeded the recommended levels for superficial saline waters in 67% of the cases. Hg concentrations varied among fish species and its tissues. The results suggested that metal burden in fishes achieved a mean maximum accumulation towards the muscle, with concentrations below the international maximum permitted values. The estimated daily intakes calculated suggest that people would not experience significant health risks through fish consumption.


Estuary,Fish species,Metals,Suspended particulate matter,