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Mercury bioaccumulation in fish in an artificial lake used to carry out cage culture

Wang, Yongmin, Xie, Qing, Xu, Qinqin, Xue, Jinping, Zhang, Cheng, Wang, Dingyong
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2019 v.78 pp. 352-359
animal growth, anthropogenic activities, bioaccumulation, body weight, cage culture, eutrophication, feeding behavior, fish, fish culture, food chain, humans, lakes, mercury, methylmercury compounds, muscles, nitrogen, pollutants, stable isotopes, surface water, toxicity, trophic levels, China
As a global toxic pollutant, mercury (Hg) bioaccumulation within food chain could be influenced by human disturbance. Ten typical fish species were collected from Changshou Lake, an artificial lake used to carry out cage fish culture, to investigate the C/N isotopic compositions and Hg bioaccumulation in fish. The results showed that the total Hg (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) levels in fish muscles ((56.03 ± 43.96) and (32.35 ± 29.57) ng/g, wet weight), comparable with those in most studies in China, were significantly lower than the international marketing limit (0.5 mg/kg). Past human input for cage culture in this lake led to abnormal 15N enrichment in food chain, as the quantitative trophic levels based on δ15N were different with that classified by feeding behaviors. This phenomenon subsequently demonstrated that it should be considered thoughtfully with respect to the application of the traditional method for understanding Hg bioaccumulation power by the slope of log10[Hg] with δ15N regression in specific water body (i.e., Changshou Lake). In addition, no significant linear correlation between Hg and body weight or length of some fish species was observed, suggesting that the fish growth in the eutrophic environment was disproportionate with Hg bioaccumulation, and fish length or weight was not the main factor affecting Hg transfer with food web. The occurrence of human disturbance in aquatic system presents a challenge to a better understanding of the Hg bioaccumulation and biomagnification within the food chain.