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Trace element occurrence in the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas from coastal marine ecosystems in Italy

Burioli, E.A.V., Squadrone, S., Stella, C., Foglini, C., Abete, M.C., Prearo, M.
Chemosphere 2017 v.187 pp. 248-260
Crassostrea gigas, European Union, aluminum, antifouling agents, arsenic, bioaccumulation, cadmium, chromium, coasts, copper, environmental factors, environmental monitoring, heavy metals, humans, iron, lead, manganese, marine ecosystems, mercury, nickel, oysters, risk, selenium, tin, tissues, zinc, Italy
The Pacific oyster is one of the world's most widespread bivalves and a suitable species for biomonitoring trace elements in marine environments thanks to its bioaccumulation ability. As it is also an edible mollusc, concentrations of harmful elements in its tissues must be monitored. For these purposes, 464 wild individuals were collected from 12 sites along the Italian coasts. The concentration of fourteen trace elements (Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Se, Sn, Tl, and Zn) in their tissues was quantified. Among the three heavy metals, cadmium, lead, and mercury, none exceeded the maximum limit for in food set by European Union regulations but Cd in one sample from the Varano Lagoon resulted extremely close to this value. Contamination by Hg of the northern Adriatic and Orbetello Lagoons was also observed. Moreover, there was a positive association between the lagoon's environmental conditions and the bioaccumulation of this element in oysters. Despite the ban instituted 15 years ago on the use of Sn in antifouling paints, this element is still present in several marine environments, as demonstrated in the oysters sampled from harbour areas. Samples collected from harbours also showed very high concentrations of Cu and Zn due to the ability of oysters to accumulate these elements, which have replaced Sn in antifouling paints. Analysis of the samples from most sites indicated a low risk of human exposure to harmful elements through oyster consumption; nonetheless, chemical sanitary controls should focus primarily on Cd, Cu, and Zn.