Environmental Investigations and Tissue Bioaccumulation of Heavy Metals in Grey Mullet from the Black Sea (Bulgaria) and the Ionian Sea (Italy)
Department of Veterinary Sciences, Polo Universitario Annunziata, University of Messina, 98168 Messina, Italy
Institute for Marine Biological Resources and Biotechnology (IRBIM), National Research Council (CNR), Section of Messina, Spianata S. Raineri 86, 98122 Messina, Italy
Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University Varna, 84 Tzar Osvoboditel Blv, 9000 Varna, Bulgaria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 September 2020 / Accepted: 21 September 2020 / Published: 24 September 2020
The environmental monitoring of dangerous chemicals and how these affect the aquatic biota is of fundamental importance in defining the health status of fish. Pollution with chemical elements is of great environmental concern, since fish and marine organisms can uptake various toxicants and subsequently transfer them to man through the food web. Moreover, the accumulation of toxic elements could be a cause of pathology insurgence in fish. These organisms represent a good indicator of the status of coastal water. Flathead grey mullet (Mugil cephalus) is a coastal species, bottom dwelling and feeding on detritus, invertebrates, and algae. The main aim of the present study was to determine the total concentration of nine elements (Cd, Cr, Pb, Ni, Al, Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn) in the fish species M. cephalus and in coastal marine waters collected from various sampling points along the Black Sea (Bulgaria) and the Ionian Sea (Italy) and to apply those results to the prediction of the pollution status of those coastal marine environments. To achieve this goal, metal concentrations were analyzed in various fish tissues (gills, liver, and muscle) of grey mullet (M. cephalus) and in marine water samples collected from the sampling stations across both areas (Ionian Sea (Italy) and Black Sea (Bulgaria)). The results revealed significant differences within the tissues examined and the marine water samples, principally attributable to the pollution of the area, the bioavailability of metals, and the hydrological conditions. The present study represents the first attempt to compare the data obtained from analyzing sampling points in order to define the different elemental concentrations in M. cephalus muscle tissue and how they reflect environmental ones.