Total mercury concentrations in fish from Urrá reservoir (Sinú river, Colombia). Six years of monitoring


José Marrugo-Negrete
Amado Navarro-Frómeta
Javier Ruiz-Guzmán


Objective. The aim of this study was to monitor the total mercury (T-Hg) concentrations in fish from the Urrá reservoir, after impoundment. Materials and methods. Five fish species at different trophic levels were sampled from 2004 to 2009 and analyzed by cold-vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy for T-Hg concentrations in muscle tissue. Water quality parameters were evaluated. Results. The highest (1.39±0.69 μg/g ww) and lowest (0.15±0.02 μg/g ww) T-Hg concentrations were detected in Hoplias malabaricus (piscivorous) and Cyphocharax magdalenae (iliophagous/detritivorous) respectively, whereas Leporinus muyscorum (omnivorous) had an intermediate level (0.40±0.11 μg/g ww). The organic matter content in the water increased with time and depth, whereas dissolved oxygen and pH decreased. A covariance analysis (with fish length as a covariate) shows a steady increase of T-Hg levels in all the studied species after impoundment. Conclusions. The T-Hg concentrations in the evaluated fish species, increased after impoundment. The water quality variables showed conditions favoring Hg methylation and its biomagnification, this last was evident in the fish food chain of the reservoir.

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