Effects of mine tailing and mixed contamination on metals, trace elements accumulation and histopathology of the chub (Squalius cephalus) tissues: Evidence from three differently contaminated sites in Serbia

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2018 May 30;153:238-247. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2018.01.058. Epub 2018 Feb 14.


Chub (Squalius cephalus) specimens were collected in Korenita River seven months after spillover from the waste water of antimony mine tailing pond and compared with chub living in Kruščica reservoir (intended for water supply) and Međuvršje reservoir (influenced by intense emission of industrial, urban and rural wastewater). Concentrations of 15 elements (Al, As, B, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Si, Sr, Zn) were determined in muscle, liver and gills of chub by inductively coupled plasma optical spectrometry (ICP-OES) and histopathological alterations in liver and gills were assessed. Chub specimens from Korenita River had higher concentrations of As, Ba and Pb in all three investigated tissues as well as higher total histopathological index values than chub from reservoirs. Specimens from Međuvršje reservoir were characterized by higher values for concentrations of Cu and Si in muscle tissue and higher values for regressive histopathological alterations in gills. Individuals of chub from Kruščica reservoir had the highest concentrations of Fe in liver, Hg in muscle and Sr and Zn in muscle while gills had the lowest value of total histopathological index. The results from the present study showed higher level of histopathological alterations as a result of mine tailing accident. As a result of mixed contamination on the Međuvršje site, histopathological index values of gills were in line with the index value from Korenita River. Increased values for Fe and Sr in chub tissue from Kruščica reservoir could be explained by geological structure of the site which is characterized by magmatic rock rich in Cu, Fe and Ni as well as dominant carbonate sediment complex of marine origin with increased level of Sr.

Keywords: Gills; ICP-OES; Liver; Reservoir; River.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyprinidae / metabolism*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Gills / chemistry
  • Gills / pathology
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Liver / pathology
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Muscles / chemistry
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Rivers / chemistry
  • Serbia
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Trace Elements / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Trace Elements
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical