Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study shows transfer of heavy metals from water to fish in Huelva estuary

A team of researchers from the University of Cadiz has confirmed that zinc, copper and lead are present at high levels in the water and sediments of the Huelva estuary, and have studied how some of these heavy metals are transferred to fish. The study shows that zinc, cadmium and copper accumulate in the body tissues of sole and gilthead bream.

"We found positive correlations between the levels of some metals in the waters of the Huelva estuary and those in the tissues of gilthead bream (Sparus aurata) and sole (Solea senegalensis)", Mª Dolores Galindo, a professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Cadiz and the head of the study published recently in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, tells SINC.

The researchers focused their analysis on the "bioavailabilty" of heavy metals in coastal waters and their impact on commercially important species, such as the two studied. The results showed elevated levels of zinc, copper and lead, both in water and sediment, although the most "available" elements for the fish were zinc, cadmium and copper.

"Numerous laboratory studies have looked at the effects of pollutants on aquatic organisms, but our research observes this phenomenon in the natural environment, in one of the few estuaries in Spain with high levels of metals contamination", says Galindo. The Huelva estuary and the Tinto and Odiel rivers which flow into it are all affected by discharges from industries and historic mining activities locally. The area, in which fishing is forbidden, is globally significant in terms of its levels of heavy metal contamination.

For this reason it is an ideal area for scientists in which to examine the effects of contaminants on the environment. The researchers, who are working on developing environmental quality criteria, studied the levels of copper, cadmium, lead and arsenic on three types of samples – water, sediments and fish tissue.

By using a statistical index (Pearson coefficient), the scientists found a link between the presence of zinc and cadmium in the water and in the tissues of the fish, above all in the gilthead bream, a species that lives in open water. There was a lower correlation in the case of the sole, which tends to be a bottom dweller, although it also contained lead. Zinc and cadmium appeared in the gills and muscles, but above all in the liver, where copper was also detected at high concentrations.

This research forms part of the project "Production and validation of environmental quality criteria in sensitive coastal ecosystems" financed by the former Ministry of Education and Science, and which also includes analysis of the levels of organic pollutants in the Huelva estuary, as well as the "hystopathological" damage to fish caused by this contamination.

The central government of Spain and the regional government of Andalusia have been developing pollution reduction policies for the estuary since 1997. The measures adopted have included waste water treatment, metal retention processes, waste treatment and reduction of discharges.

References: Juan J. Vicente-Martorell, María D. Galindo-Riaño, Manuel García-Vargas, María D. Granado-Castro. "Bioavailability of heavy metals monitoring water, sediments and fish species from a polluted estuary". Journal of Hazardous Materials 162 (2-3): 823-836, 2009.

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>