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Total mercury and methylmercury concentrations in fish from the Mojana region of Colombia



Total mercury and methylmercury concentrations in fish from the Mojana region of Colombia



Environmental Geochemistry and Health 30(1): 21-30



Total mercury (T-Hg) and methylmercury (MeHg) concentrations have been measured in the muscle tissue of 16 fish species consumed in the Mojana region of Colombia. T-Hg analysis was performed by cold-vapor atomic-absorption spectroscopy (CV-ASS) and MeHg analysis by gas chromatography with electron-capture detection. Higher T-Hg and MeHg concentrations were detected in carnivorous species (T-Hg = 0.371 +/- 0.172 (microg g(-1) fresh wt, MeHg = 0.346 +/- 0.171 microg g(-1) fresh wt) than in non-carnivorous fish (T-Hg = 0.155 +/- 0.108 microg g(-1) fresh wt, MeHg = 0.146 +/- 0.102 microg g(-1) fresh wt). In the different species mercury was present almost completely as the methylated form, with percentages between 80.5 and 98.1% (mean 92.0 +/- 3.4%). In 13.5% of fish-tissue samples T-Hg concentrations exceeded the maximum level recommended by the World Health Organization for human consumption (Hg = 0.5 microg g(-1) fresh wt). Although mean T-Hg concentrations in all fish samples (0.269 +/- 0.181 microg g(-1) fresh wt) did not exceed this limit, risk assessment suggested that the consumption of 0.12 kg fish day(-1) could increase the risk of mercury poisoning of the inhabitants of this region.

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Accession: 022019373

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 17610028

DOI: 10.1007/s10653-007-9104-2


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