Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in fish and Ardeid at Pearl River Estuary, China

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2014 Aug;106:62-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.04.016. Epub 2014 May 14.


Sediment, fish (tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus and snakehead, Channa asiatica), eggs and eggshells of Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) and Chinese Pond Herons (Ardeola bacchus) were collected from Mai Po Ramsar site of Hong Kong, as well as from wetlands in the Gu Cheng County, Shang Hu County and Dafeng Milu National Nature Reserve of Jiangsu Province, China between 2004 and 2007 (n=3-9). Concentrations of six heavy metals were analyzed, based on inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). Significant bioaccumulations of Cd (BAF: 165-1271 percent) were observed in the muscle and viscera of large tilapia and snakehead, suggesting potential health risks to the two bird species, as the fishes are the main preys of waterbirds. Significant (p<0.01) linear relationships were obtained between concentrations of Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Pb and Zn in the eggs and eggshells of various Ardeid species, and these regression models were used to extrapolate the heavy metal concentrations in the Ardeid eggs of Mai Po. Extrapolated concentrations are consistent with data in the available literature, and advocate the potential use of these models as a non-invasive sampling method for predicting heavy metal contamination in Ardeid eggs.

Keywords: Ardeid; Bioaccumulation; Bioaccumulation factor; Eggshell; Heavy metals; Mai Po.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Birds / metabolism*
  • Body Size
  • China
  • Egg Shell / chemistry
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Estuaries*
  • Fishes / metabolism*
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry
  • Hong Kong
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis
  • Metals, Heavy / metabolism*
  • Muscles / chemistry
  • Ovum / chemistry
  • Tilapia / metabolism
  • Viscera / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism*


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical