Environmental toxicology and chemistry

Linking trace element variations with macronutrients and major cations in marine mussels Mytilus edulis and Perna viridis.

PMID 25900884


Marine mussels have long been used as biomonitors of contamination of trace elements, but little is known about whether variation in tissue trace elements is significantly associated with those of macronutrients and major cations. The authors examined the variability of macronutrients and major cations and their potential relationships with bioaccumulation of trace elements. The authors analyzed the concentrations of macronutrients (C, N, P, S), major cations (Na, Mg, K, Ca), and trace elements (Al, V, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Mo, Cd, Ba, Pb) in the whole soft tissues of marine mussels Mytilus edulis and Perna viridis collected globally from 21 sites. The results showed that 12% to 84% of the variances in the trace elements was associated with major cations, and the tissue concentration of major cations such as Na and Mg in mussels was a good proxy for ambient seawater concentrations of the major cations. Specifically, bioaccumulation of most of the trace elements was significantly associated with major cations, and the relationships of major cations with trace cations and trace oxyanions were totally opposite. Furthermore, 14% to 69% of the variances in the trace elements were significantly associated with macronutrients. Notably, more than half of the variance in the tissue concentrations of As, Cd, V, Ba, and Pb was explained by the variance in macronutrients in one or both species. Because the tissue macronutrient concentrations were strongly associated with animal growth and reproduction, the observed coupling relationships indicated that these biological processes strongly influenced the bioaccumulation of some trace elements. The present study indicated that simultaneous quantification of macronutrients and major cations with trace elements can improve the interpretation of biomonitoring data.

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