Assessment of metal mobility in sediment, commercial fish accumulation and impact on human health risk in a large shallow plateau lake in southwest of China

Yu Qian, Changlei Cheng, Huan Feng, Zijin Hong, Qingzhi Zhu, Marek Kolenčík, Xuexiu Chang

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Sediment heavy metal pollution in the Dianchi Lake has been a long-term environmental problem of concern. This study investigated the lake sediment heavy metal contamination level, mobility, commercial fish metal accumulation and its impact on human health. The results show high As, Hg and Cd concentration in the sediment, while Pb and Cr contamination are insignificant. Sediment sequential extraction analysis shows that Hg in sediment has the highest portion of mobile fraction, followed by As, while the portion of mobile fractions of Cd, Pb and Cr in sediment is very low. The high concentrations of Hg and As in surface water and porewater were consistent with the chemical fraction composition of the two elements in sediment. Three major commercial fish species, Culterichthys erythropterus, Carassius auratus and Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, were collected for analysis of metal concentrations in their muscles. Among the same size of fish, C. auratus has the highest As concentration due to its bottom habitat and omnivorous feeding habits. On the other hand, C. erythropterus has the highest Hg concentration due to its relatively high trophic level position. The average THQ value of metals in fish tissue decrease in the order of As > Hg > Pb > Cd > Cr and the total THQ of average metal concentration in fish species decreased in the order of C. auratus > C. erythropterus > H. molitrix. Both THQ and total THQ is below 1, suggested no non-carcinogenic human health risk of fish consumption. However, TR of As in C. auratus was above 1.00E-04 threshold value, indicated potential carcinogenic human health risk. The results from this study indicate that although moderately to heavily contamination of Hg, As, and Cd occurred in Dianchi Lake sediment, only Hg and As tend to transport to surface water and accumulate in commercial fish due to their higher mobility in sediment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110346
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
StatePublished - May 2020



  • Fish metal accumulation
  • Health risk assessment
  • Heavy metal
  • Mobility
  • Sediment
  • Sequential extraction

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