Assessment of heavy metals in water samples and tissues of edible fish species from Awassa and Koka Rift Valley Lakes, Ethiopia
Authors: Dsikowitzky, L; Mengesha, M; Dadebo, E; de Carvalho, CEV; Sindern, S
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.
HERO ID: 1255505
The Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes host populations of edible fish species including Oreochromis niloticus, . . .
The Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes host populations of edible fish species including Oreochromis niloticus, Labeobarbus intermedius and Clarias gariepinus, which are harvested also in other tropical countries. We investigated the occurrence of six heavy metals in tissues of these fish species as well as in the waters of Lake Koka and Lake Awassa. Both lakes are affected by industrial effluents in their catchments, making them ideal study sites. Mercury concentrations were very low in the water samples, but concentrations in the fish samples were relatively high, suggesting a particularly high bioaccumulation tendency as compared with the other investigated metals. Mercury was preferentially accumulated in the fish liver or muscle. It was the only metal with species-specific accumulation with highest levels found in the predatory species L. intermedius. Lower mercury concentrations in O. niloticus could be attributed to the lower trophic level, whereas mercury values in the predatory C. gariepinus were unexpectedly low. This probably relates to the high growth rate of this species resulting in biodilution of mercury. Accumulation of lead, selenium, chromium, arsenic and cadmium did not differ between species, indicating that these elements are not biomagnified in the food chain. Values of cadmium, selenium and arsenic were highest in fish livers, while lead and chromium levels were highest in the gills, which could be related to the uptake pathway. A significant impact of the industrial discharges on the occurrence of metals in the lakes could not be detected, and the respective concentrations in fish do not pose a public health hazard.