Biomonitoring Total Mercury in the Persian Gulf Using the Rock Oyster (Saccostrea cucullata)


1 - Dept. of Fishery, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Guilan, Someh Sara, Iran 2- Dept. of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Guilan, Someh Sara, Iran

2 O. Rafieyan*1, A. A. Darvishsefat2, S. Babaii1, A. Mataji1


This study is an attempt to evaluate the biomonitoring capabilities of rock oyster, Saccostrea cucullata, for mercury (Hg) pollution. The oyster and sediment samples were collected from 10 rocky habitats of Qeshm and Hormoz Islands in the Persian Gulf. The concentration of mercury in the shell and soft tissues of the oysters and sediments were analyzed using an advanced mercury analyzer. Biota-sediment accumulation factor (BSAF) was calculated based on the ratio of Hg concentrations in soft tissues to that in sediments. The results showed that the rate of mercury accumulation in the soft tissues of the oyster was significantly higher than that in its shell (P < 0.05). There was a significant correlation between mercury concentrations in the soft tissues and the sediments (r =0.75) According to BSAF, soft tissues of the oyster were recognized as an appropriate indicator for biomonitoring mercury. The present study generally supports the usability of soft tissue of S. cucullata as a sensitive biomonitoring organ to warn us of mercury pollution in the Persian Gulf.


Adjei-Boateng , D., Obirikorang , K.A., and Amisah , S., 2010. Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in the tissue of the clam Mohammadi et al.,153galatea paradoxa and sediments from the Volta Estuary, Ghana. International Journal of Environmental Research.4:533-540.
Agah, H., Leermakers, M., Elskens, M., Fatemi, S.M.R., and Baeyens, W., 2007. Total mercury and methyl mercuryconcentrations in fish from the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea: Water,Air, & Soil Pollution.181: 95-105.
Alessia, M., Rodriguez y, B., and Hervé, T., 2006. CIESM Mediterranean Mussel Watch Program Phase II: towards an increased awareness of marine environment and seafood quality. Marine Sicences and Public Health.31: 3-11.
Amiard, J.-C., Amiard-Triquet, C., Charbonnier, L., Mesnil, A., Rainbow, P.S., and Wang, W.-X., 2008. Bioaccessibility of essential and non-essential metals in commercial shellfish from Western Europe and Asia: Food and Chemical Toxicology.46: 2010-2022.
Berandah, F.E., Kong, Y.C., and Ismail, A., 2010. Bioaccumulation and distribution of heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb and Zn) in the different tissues of Chicoreus capucinusLamarck (Mollusca: Muricidae) collected from Sungai Janggut, Kuala Langat, Malaysia. EnvironmentAsia.3: 65-71.
Blackmore, G., and Wang, W.-X., 2004. The transfer of cadmium, mercury, methylmercury, and zinc in an intertidal rocky shore food chain: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.307: 91-110.CCME, 2001. Canadian Sediment Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life: Environment Canada Guidelines and Standards Divisions.1299: 1-5.
Carrasco, L., Dķez, S., Soto, D.X., Catalan, J., and Bayona, J.M., 2008. Assessment of mercury and methylmercury pollution with zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) in the Ebro River (NE Spain) impacted by industrial hazardous dumps. Science of the Total Environment.407: 178-184.
Chouvelon, T., Warnau, M., Churlaud, C., and Bustamante, P., 2009. Hg concentrations and related risk assessment in coral reef crustaceans, molluscs and fish from New Caledonia: Environmental Pollution.157: 331-340.
Garron, C., Gagné, F., Ernst, W., Julien, G., Bernier, M., and Caldwell, C., 2005. Mercury contamination of marine sediments and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) in the vicinity of a mercury cell chlor-alkali plant in Dalhousie, New Brunswick, Canada. Water Quality Research Journal of Canada. 40: 1-15.
F.E., Safahieh, A., Sohrab, A.D., and Tochaii, S.P., 2010. Heavy metal concentration in rock oyster .Trakia Journal of Sciences.8: 79-86.Esmaili Sari A, Nori Sari H, Esmaili Sari A. 2008. Mercury in the Environment. Bazargan,Rasht: 226.
Ghafariyan S. 2003. Persian Gulf( World Heartland),Madreseh press,p182.
Hajeb, P., Jinap, S., Ismail, A., Fatimah, A.B., Jamilah, B., and Abdul Rahim, M., 2009. Assessment of mercury level in commonly consumed marine fishes in Malaysia: Food Control. 20: 79-84.
Jeng, M.-S., Jeng, W.-L., Hung, T.-C., Yeh, C.-Y., Tseng, R.-J., Meng, P.-J., and Han, B.-C., 2000. Mussel Watch: a review of Cu and other metals in various marine organisms in Taiwan, 1991–98: Environmental Pollution. 110: 207-215.
Kazemi, A., Bakhtiari, A.R., Kheirabadi, N.,Barani, H., and Haidari, B., 2012. Distribution patterns of metals contamination in sediments based on type regional development on the intertidal coastal zones of the Persian Gulf, Iran. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 88 :100-103.
Leo.A, D., N., C., Giandomenico.S, and L., S., 2010. Mercury and methylmercury contamination in Mytilus galloprovincialis from Taranto Gulf (Ionian Sea, Southern Italy): Risk evaluation for consumers. Food and Chemical Toxicology.48 : 3131–3136.
Mark.W.S, 2001 Mercury in Petroleum and Natural Gas: Estimation of Emissions from Production, Processing, and Combustion EPA , National Risk Management Research Laboratory Cincinnati. EPA/600/SR-01/066 :1-5.
Mortazavi M, S, Sharifian S. 2011. Mercury bioaccumulation in some
BiomonitoringTotal Mercury in the Persian...154commercially valuable marine organisms from Mosa Bay, Persian Gulf. International Journal of Environmental Research.5(3): 757-762.
Mukhtasor, Sadiq, R., Husain, T., Veitch, B., and Bose, N., 2001. Acute ecological risk associated with soot deposition: a Persian Gulf case study.Ocean Engineering. 28: 1295-1308.
Ritthong, C., and Puanglarp, N., 2011. Biomonitoring of mercury contamination at petroleum production platforms in the Gulf of Thailand using transplanted Green Mussel, Perna viridis.EnvironmentAsia.4: 21-24.
Soto-Jiménez, M., Páez-Osuna, F., and Morales-Hernández, F., 2001. Selected trace metals in oysters (Crassostrea iridescens) and sediments from the discharge zone of the submarine sewage outfall in Mazatlán Bay (southeast Gulf of California): chemical fractions and bioaccumulation factors: Environmental Pollution.114: 357-370.
Tolosa, I., de Mora, S.J., Fowler, S.W., Villeneuve, J.-P., Bartocci, J., and Cattini, C., 2005. Aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons in marine biota and coastal sediments from the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.Marine Pollution Bulletin.50: 1619-1633.USEPA., 1988.
Methods for use of caged Molluscs for IN-SITU Biomonitoring of Marine Discharges Water Research and development Washington DC 20460.
Yap, C.K., Ismail, A., Tan, S.G., and Abdul Rahim, I., 2003. Can the shell of the green-lipped mussel Perna viridisfrom the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia be a potential biomonitoring material for Cd, Pb and Zn?: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science.57: 623-630.
Zahed, M.A., Rouhani, F., Mohajeri, S., Bateni, F., and Mohajeri, L., 2010. An overview of Iranian mangrove ecosystems, northern part of the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea: Acta Ecologica Sinica. 30: 240-244.