Seasonal variation of microcystins and their accumulation in fish in two large shallow lakes of China.

Research paper by Liang L Peng, Quehui Q Tang, Jiguang J Gu, Lamei L Lei, Wei W Chen, Lirong L Song

Indexed on: 21 May '20Published on: 20 May '20Published in: Ecotoxicology


Bioaccumulation of microcystins (MCs) has been widely observed in aquatic vertebrates and invertebrates, but its seasonal and specific variations remain unclear. In the present study, dissolved MCs in water, algal cell-bound MCs and muscle tissue MCs of nine fish species were investigated monthly in two of the largest shallow lakes in China: Lake Taihu and Lake Chaohu. The fish species were grouped as carnivorous, planktivorous, and omnivorous fish. Seasonal variations in dissolved and algal cell-bound MCs in water and MCs contents of fish hepatopancreas and muscle were investigated in the two lakes from 2009 to 2010. Dissolved MCs in water ranged from 0.35 to 2.56 µg l in Lake Taihu and 0.16 to 2.45 µg l in Lake Chaohu, and showed seasonally a unimodal distribution. Algal cell-bound MCs also showed a similar seasonal variation in both lakes, but dissolved MCs in water peaked about one month later than algal cell-bound MCs. The MCs content in the Fish muscle was higher MCs from October to December than in the other months. For most of the fish species, it exceeded the tolerable daily intake value established by the WHO. The averaged MCs content in the muscle of carnivorous, planktivorous, omnivorous fish was 48.2, 28.7 and 37.8 μg kg in Lake Taihu, respectively, and 27.8, 18.6 and 20.4 μg kg in Lake Chaohu. It was significantly higher in carnivorous fish than in planktivorous and omnivorous fish, indicating that carnivorous fish has a higher exposure risk to the local people when consuming the harvested fish. The average ratio of hepatopancreas to muscle MCs contents was 13.0, 25.2, 13.8 for carnivorous, planktivorous, omnivorous fishes in Lake Taihu, respectively, and 18.0, 24.9, 14.8 in Lake Chaohu. These ratio for planktivorous fish almost doubled that for carnivorous and omnivorous fish. High correlation of MC content in carnivorous, omnivorous and planktivorous fish indicates that MCs can be delivered along trophic levels in the food chains.