Assessment of heavy metals/metalloid (As, Pb, Cd, Ni, Zn, Cr, Cu, Mn) concentrations in edible fish species tissue in the Pearl River Delta (PRD), China

Mar Pollut Bull. 2014 Jan 15;78(1-2):235-45. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.10.028. Epub 2013 Nov 14.


The major aim of this study was to investigate heavy metal content of edible fish in the PRD. Eleven species of fish (consisting of 711 individuals) [catfish (Clarias fuscus), tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus), bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis), mandarin fish (Siniperca kneri), snakehead (Channa asiatiea), black bass (Micropterus salmoides), mangrove snapper (Lutjanus griseus), star snapper (Lutjanu stellatus), snubnose pompano (Trachinotus blochii) and orange-spotted grouper (Epinephelus coioides)] were collected for the analyses of heavy metals. Overall concentrations (mg/kg, ww) in the fish muscles were: As (0.03-1.53), Pb (0.03-8.62), Cd (0.02-0.06), Ni (0.44-9.75), Zn (15.7-29.5), Cr (0.22-0.65), Cu (0.79-2.26), Mn (0.82-6.91). Significant level of Pb were found in tilapia at all locations. It is recommended that heavy metal concentrations in different fish species must be determined on a regular basis in the future so as to reduce human health risks from acute and chronic food intoxication.

Keywords: Fish; Fish muscle; Heavy metals; Metalloid; Pearl River Delta.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • China
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Fishes / metabolism*
  • Food Contamination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Metals, Heavy / metabolism*
  • Rivers / chemistry*
  • Seafood / statistics & numerical data*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism*


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical