Bioaccumulation of selected metals in bivalves (Unionidae) and Phragmites australis inhabiting a municipal water reservoir

Environ Monit Assess. 2014 May;186(5):3199-212. doi: 10.1007/s10661-013-3610-8. Epub 2014 Jan 10.


Urbanization can considerably affect water reservoirs by, inter alia, input, and accumulation of contaminants including metals. Located in the course of River Cybina, Maltański Reservoir (Western Poland) is an artificial shallow water body built for recreation and sport purposes which undergoes restoration treatment (drainage) every 4 years. In the present study, we demonstrate an accumulation of nine metals (Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn) in water, sediment, three bivalve species (Anodonta anatina, Anodonta cygnea, Unio tumidus), and macrophyte Phragmites australis collected before complete drainage in November 2012. The mean concentrations of metals in the sediment, bivalves, and P. australis (roots and leaves) decreased in the following order: Fe > Mn > Zn > Cu > Cr > Ni > Pb > Co > Cd. A considerably higher bioconcentration of metals was observed in samples collected from the western and southern sites which undergo a higher degree of human impact. Sediments were found to be a better indicator of metal contamination than water samples. Interspecific differences in levels of metal accumulation were found between investigated unionids. U. tumidus accumulated higher levels of Cr, positively correlated with ambient concentrations, predisposing this species as a potential bioindicator of this metal in aquatic environments. On the other hand, species of Anodonta genus demonstrated higher accumulation of Cu and Cd. Positive correlations were found between Pb content in the sediments and tissues of all three bivalve species. In P. australis, metals were largely retained in roots except for Cd and Pb for which higher concentrations were found in leaves suggesting additional absorption of these metals from aerial sources. P. australis and bivalve from the Maltański Reservoir may be a potential source of toxic metals for animals feeding upon them and contribute to further contamination in the food chain.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Metals / analysis
  • Metals / metabolism*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Poaceae / chemistry
  • Poaceae / metabolism*
  • Poland
  • Rivers / chemistry
  • Unionidae / chemistry
  • Unionidae / metabolism*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism*


  • Metals
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical