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Open AccessCommunication

Mercury Detection in Benthic and Pelagic Fish Collected from Western Sicily (Southern Italy)

1
Food Department, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sicilia, via Gino Marinuzzi 3, 90129 Palermo, Italy
2
BIOMORF Department, Università degli Studi di Messina, Piazza Pugliatti 1, 98122 Messina, Italy
3
Life Science Department, Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Via Università 4, 41121 Modena, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(9), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090594
Received: 23 July 2019 / Revised: 14 August 2019 / Accepted: 16 August 2019 / Published: 22 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Pollutants on Fish)
In highly polluted water, fish can accumulate Hg at concentrations that cause risk to human health. This has occurred in Sicily (Southern Italy), where there is activity from the petrochemical pole. In this paper, we present concentrations of mercury in 14 fish species collected from western Sicilian coasts in 2013. A significant difference was found between fish species examined but not between pelagic and benthic fish. Four out of 130 analyzed samples showed mercury concentrations over the European limits.
In highly polluted water, fish can accumulate mercury up to a concentration of 10 mgKg−1. This has occurred on the eastern coasts of Sicily (Southern Italy), probably due to the intense industrial activity of this area. However, little is known about Hg accumulation in fish of the western Sicilian coasts. In this work, we examined the Hg accumulation of 108 fish samples belonging to 14 species collected from western Sicilian coasts using a direct mercury analyzer. The samples showed a mean mercury concentration of 0.165 ± 0.22 mg kg−1 with a maximum in Lepidopus caudatus (1.72 mgKg−1), exceeding the limits provided by EC Reg. 1881/2006. The lowest Hg levels were found in Sparus aurata samples (0.001 mgKg−1). A significant difference was found between the fish species examined (p < 0.05). The comparison between benthic and pelagic species did not show statistical differences (p < 0.05). Fish food constitutes the main route of Hg uptake for humans. Only four of the 130 samples examined reached a mercury concentration over the European limits. The comparative analysis of Hg pollution for benthic and pelagic species did not confirm a different trend in metal contamination. View Full-Text
Keywords: contaminants; toxic metals; fish; Mediterranean Sea contaminants; toxic metals; fish; Mediterranean Sea
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Cammilleri, G.; Galluzzo, F.G.; Fazio, F.; Pulvirenti, A.; Vella, A.; Lo Dico, G.M.; Macaluso, A.; Ciaccio, G.; Ferrantelli, V. Mercury Detection in Benthic and Pelagic Fish Collected from Western Sicily (Southern Italy). Animals 2019, 9, 594.

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