Chromium in intertidal sediments of the Clyde, UK: potential for remobilisation and bioaccumulation

Andrew S. Hursthouse, Joy M. Matthews, Julie E. Figures, Parveen Iqbal-Zahid, Iain M. Davies, D. Huw Vaughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Detailed surveys of intertidal sediments have been performed along the north and south shores of the Inner Clyde estuary, UK. Surface sediment data reveal significant spatial variation in Cr content and an association with major sediment characteristics and location within the estuary. Depth variation for Cr and other heavy metals cannot be explained by variation in major geochemical controls such as grain size and organic matter and highlights the impact of historical contamination on sediment quality. These elevated levels at depth may still have environmental impact through redox-reactivity, in association with iron and manganese. Sequential extraction of sediments and pore water analysis of Cr(VI) and Cr(III) provide detailed information on release potential from the sediments. The implication of Cr mobility for biota in the estuary has been assessed by the analysis of a common marine bivalve, Mytilus edulis (Blue Mussel) and a burrowing polychaete, Nereis diversicolor (rag worm) from a number of survey sites. Bioconcentration factors for Mytilus indicate that the weakly held portion of sediment Cr is available for uptake and in the case of Nereis, bioaccumulation appears to be inhibited by sediment organic matter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-203
Number of pages33
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioconcentration factors
  • chromium speciation
  • Clyde Estuary (UK)
  • intertidal sediments
  • pore waters
  • Mytilus edulis
  • Nereis diversicolor
  • sediment contamination


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