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Aquat Toxicol. 2010 Sep 15;99(4):448-56. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2010.06.004. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Cadmium bioaccumulation and retention kinetics in the Chilean blue mussel Mytilus chilensis: seawater and food exposure pathways.

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Instituto de Geociencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Castilla 567, Valdivia, Chile.


The Chilean blue mussel (Mytilus chilensis, Hupe 1854) represents the most important bivalve exploited along the Chilean coast and is a major food source for the Chilean population. Unfortunately, local fish and shellfish farming face severe problems as a result of bioaccumulation of toxic trace metals into shellfishes. Blue mussels collected along the Chilean coasts contain levels of Cd above the regulatory limits for human consumption. In this study, we examined the bioaccumulation, depuration and organ distribution of Cd in the M. chilensis, from 109Cd-labelled bulk seawater and from feeding with 109Cd-labelled algae. The uptake of 109Cd via seawater displayed a simple exponential kinetic model suggesting that cadmium activity tends to reach an equilibrium value of 1.838+/-0.175 ng g(-1) (mean+/-asymptotic standard error, p < 0.001) after 78+/-9 days. The depuration rate for 109Cd accumulated via seawater was slow, with only 21% of the total 109Cd accumulated in the whole mussel being eliminated after 52 days. Total elimination of Cd in mussels was adequately described by a double component kinetic model, in which the biological half-life for the long-lived component represents more than 6 months. In contrast, depuration after radiolabelled food uptake was fast, reaching only 20% of retention in 10 days. This knowledge of the long half-life of cadmium accumulated via seawater as well as the non-negligible level of cadmium accumulated into the shells is relevant to the management of Cd levels in this species and the refinement of detoxification processes in order to comply with authorized Cd levels.

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