Trace elements levels in muscle and liver of a rarely investigated large pelagic fish: The Mediterranean spearfish Tetrapturus belone (Rafinesque, 1810).


Department of Earth, Environmental and Physical Sciences, University of Siena, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


We determined levels of mercury, cadmium, lead and selenium in muscle and liver of 29 specimens of a large pelagic fish rarely investigated, the Mediterranean spearfish Tetrapturus belone (Raf., 1810). The following element concentration ranking (mean ± S.D.; espressed in mg/kg dry weight) was recorded in muscle: Hg (3.401 ± 1.908) > Se (1.727 ± 0.232) > Pb (0.532 ± 0.322) > Cd (0.019 ± 0.015), and Se (6.577 ± 1.789) > Cd (5.815 ± 3.038) > Hg (2.698 ± 2.214) > Pb (0.661 ± 1.334) in liver. Levels of Hg, Se and Cd were compared to those reported for other Istiophoridae from oceanic areas and for other large predators of Mediterranean Sea, like swordfish and tuna. Organotropism of trace elements and their relation to size was discussed. Ecophysiological considerations regarding the Se-Hg relationship as well as Se-Cd indicate a possible detoxification mechanism. The implications for human consumption are briefly discussed.


Large pelagic fish,Mediterranean Sea,Mediterranean spearfish,Selenium protective effects,Tetrapturus belone,Trace elements,

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