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Sci Total Environ. 2008 Feb 25;391(1):82-95. Epub 2007 Dec 3.

Accumulation and effects of metals in caged carp and resident roach along a metal pollution gradient.

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Department of Biology, Research Unit Ecophysiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerp, Belgium.


Metal accumulation and effects on plasma Ca(2+), alanine transaminase (ALT) and fish condition factor were examined in caged carp (Cyprinus carpio) and resident roach (Rutilus rutilus) at four locations along the Grote Nete River system (Belgium). Cadmium and zinc accumulation were found in carp and roach, with highest concentrations at the most contaminated site (dissolved Cd: 1.82 microg/l, Zn: 967 microg/l). On the tissue level, highest cadmium concentrations were measured in kidneys of carp and roach, followed by gills, intestine and liver, while low concentrations were observed in carcass and muscle. For zinc, a similar pattern was observed (intestine>kidney>gills>liver>carcass>muscle). Comparison between species showed higher cadmium concentrations in feral roach, while zinc levels were lower, owing to the high zinc concentrations in control carp. Furthermore, comparison of metal concentrations between two sampling periods (2005 and 2000-2001) revealed a drastic decrease in cadmium concentration in gills, liver and muscle of roach, similar to the reduction in waterborne cadmium concentrations, while differences for zinc were much less pronounced. In addition to metal accumulation, increased metallothionein concentrations (approximately 2x) were found in carp and roach, while no metal-related effects were found on ALT, Ca(2+)or condition factor. However, negative effects on fish community structure, as assessed by the index of biotic integrity (IBI), were found along the pollution gradient and indicated long-term adverse effects of metal pollution.

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