The potential for metals to bioaccumulate in aquatic species, such as fish, via trophic level transfer was investigated. An in vivo experiment was set up in a flow-through system in which juvenile rainbow trout were fed blue mussels collected from a Class A pristine site and an effluent-impacted river estuary, over a period of 28 days. Selected elements (As, Cd, Cr, Co, Cu, Fe, Pb, Mn, Mo, Ni, Se, Sn, V, Zn) were determined in the mussels and fish tissues (muscle and skin) collected at 0, 14 and 28 days. This study reveals the occurrence of meta in mussels sampled in the Irish marine environment and highlights the bioaccumulation potential of metals in fish tissues via trophic transfer. All 14 monitored metals were determined in the mussels collected from both sites and mussels collected from the effluent impacted site contained three times more Co, Mo, Sn and V than the mussels collected from the Class A site. Following a 28-day dietary exposure, concentrations of As and Se (fish muscle), and Pb, Se and Zn (fish skin), were significantly greater in fish feeding on contaminated mussels compared to those with a regular fish feed diet. The significance of metal detection and bioaccumulation in the mussel and fish tissues, highlights the potential for metal exposure to humans through the food chain. As fish are recommended as a healthy and nutritious food source, it is important to fully understand metal bioaccumulation in commercially important aquatic species and ensure the safety of human consumers.
McEneff, G., Quinn, B., Matthew, B., Dolan, S., O'Rourke, K., & Morrison, L. (2017). Bioaccumulation of metals in juvenile rainbow trout 1 (oncorhynchus mykiss) via dietary exposure to blue mussels. Chemosphere, 188, 548-556. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.08.141