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Mar Pollut Bull. 2013 May 15;70(1-2):274-80. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.02.036. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Spatial variation and subcellular binding of metals in oysters from a large estuary in China.

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South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510301, China.


Pearl River Estuary (PRE) is the largest estuary in Southern China and there has been an increasing concern of metal pollution due to regional industrialization. In this study, we investigated the spatial variation of metal pollution (Ag, As, Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn) as well as their subcellular handling in the oyster Crassostrea hongkongensis. Hot spots of metal contamination in the oysters were found in different sites, suggesting that there were different sources of metals in the estuary associated with industrial activity. Metals differed in their subcellular bindings in the oysters from different locations. Metal distribution in the biologically detoxified fraction decreased for Cu but increased for Zn with increasing contamination in the oysters. For Zn, there was a significant difference in its two detoxification pools (metal-rich granules and metallothionein-like proteins) in response to Zn contamination. The high Cd concentrations in oysters may carry a high Cd hazard to the consumers.

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