Selenium Bioaccumulation and Hazards in a Fish Community Affected by Coal Fly Ash Effluent

Michigan State University, Ист-Лансинг, Michigan, United States
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety (Impact Factor: 2.76). 11/1996; 35(1):7-15. DOI: 10.1006/eesa.1996.0076
Source: PubMed


Bioaccumulation of selenium (Se) in the fish community of Pigeon River/Pigeon Lake, which receives inputs of Se from a coal fly ash disposal facility, was studied to assess potential hazards of Se to fish, wildlife, and humans. Se concentrations in fish from sites receiving seepage and effluents from fly ash disposal ponds were significantly greater than those in fish from upstream, where Se concentrations were near background concentrations. Se concentrations differed among fish species, and interspecific variation was greatest at the most contaminated locations. Differences in Se bioaccumulation among fish species were not consistently associated with differences in trophic status. Although Se concentrations in northern pike were consistently less than those in likely prey species, large yellow perch contained Se concentrations as great as those in spottail shiners, their likely prey. Se bioaccumulation may have been influenced by differences in habitat preferences, as limnetic species generally contained greater Se concentrations than benthic species. Se concentrations in fish from the lower Pigeon River and Pigeon Lake did not exceed lowest observable adverse effect concentrations (LOAECs) for Se in tissues of fish species, but exceeded LOAECs for dietary Se exposure of sensitive species of birds and mammals. Human consumption of moderate quantities of fish from the areas studied should not result in excessive Se intake.

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Available from: John M Besser
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    • "The agricultural soil close to areas of waste production and disposal become contaminated with selenium, potentially impacting on biota (Stoewsand et al., 1990; Besser et al., 1996). Very little information is available on selenium accumulation in agricultural soils and crops in Xuzhou District, and the impact of selenium contamination on the ecosystem has not been fully discussed. "
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    ABSTRACT: Xuzhou City is an important base for coal production and coal-fired power. To evaluate selenium contamination in this area, we sampled agricultural soil, soil profile, irrigation water, bedrock, coal, fly ash, paddy rice, and vegetables from the north of Xuzhou City, and determined their selenium contents. The background level of selenium in the soil profile was 0.08 mg/kg. The selenium concentrations in agricultural soils and irrigation water were in the range of 0.21-4.08 mg/kg and 0.002-0.29 mg/L, respectively. Soils with high selenium content were located closely to coalmines and power plants. The average selenium concentrations in coal and coal fly ash were 5.46 and 2.81 mg/kg, respectively. In contrast, the concentrations of selenium in bedrock and in the soil profile were very low. These results imply that the high selenium level in agricultural soils is mainly caused by anthropogenic activities, rather than by parent material. The arithmetic mean of selenium concentration in paddy rice was 0.116 mg/kg, and in cabbage was 0.05 mg/kg. The selenium concentration in rice was positively correlated with total selenium concentration in soil, suggesting that selenium in soil is readily transferred into the crops. Furthermore, the estimated dietary intake (88.8 microg) of selenium from paddy rice and cabbage exceeds the recommended dietary allowance (55 microg). Therefore, there is a potential health risk from consumption of local staple food in the study area.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2009 · Journal of Environmental Sciences
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    • "Mason et al. (2000) also observed that As, Se and cadmium concentrations in crayfish and fish were lower than those in herbivorous insects, and Reinfelder and Fisher (1991) found very high assimilation efficiencies for Se by copepods feeding on algae. However, Besser et al. (1996) found disparities in Se concentrations among different species of fish that fed at similar trophic levels, and attributed the differences in Se bioaccumulation to habitat, and therefore food base preferences. This may suggest that trophic position of the carp in this study covaried with corrected 13 C values and that As and Se concentrations are dependent not on trophic position but carbon source. "
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    ABSTRACT: Populations of invasive fishes quickly reach extremely high biomass. Before control methods can be applied, however, an understanding of the contaminant loads of these invaders carry is needed. We investigated differences in concentrations of selected elements in two invasive carp species as a function of sampling site, fish species, length and trophic differences using stable isotopes (δ 15N, δ 13C). Fish were collected from three different sites, the Illinois River near Havana, Illinois, and two sites in the Mississippi River, upstream and downstream of the Illinois River confluence. Five bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and five silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) from each site were collected for muscle tissue analyses. Freshwater mussels (Amblema plicata) previously collected in the same areas were used as an isotopic baseline to standardize fish results among sites. Total fish length, trophic position, and corrected 13C, were significantly related to concentrations of metals in muscle. Fish length explained the most variation in metal concentrations, with most of that variation related to mercury levels. This result was not unexpected because larger fish are older, giving them a higher probability of exposure and accumulation of contaminants. There was a significant difference in stable isotope profiles between the two species. Bighead carp occupied a higher trophic position and had higher levels of corrected 13C than silver carp. Additionally bighead carp had significantly lower concentrations of arsenic and selenium than silver carp. Stable isotope ratios of nitrogen in Asian carp were at levels that are more commonly associated with higher-level predators, or from organisms in areas containing high loads of wastewater effluent.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2008 · Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
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    • "However, compared to reference shrimp, only Se and Cd were found to be significantly accumulated by the grass shrimp exposed to CCR. Both of these elements have been shown to be readily bioaccumulated by aquatic organisms in other studies (Chen and Chen, 1999; Besser et al., 1996; Goodyear and McNeill, 1999; Lemly, 2002; Lohner et al., 2001a,b,c; Sorensen et al., 1982; Staub et al., 2004; Thomas et al., 1999). The two main sources of exposure for juvenile and adult grass shrimp in this experiment were via sediment and/or the food as water-borne trace elements appeared to present a negligible exposure route given the low dissolved concentrations . "
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    ABSTRACT: Coal combustion residues (CCRs), largely derived from coal-fired electrical generation, are rich in numerous trace elements that have the potential to induce sublethal effects including oxidative stress, alterations in antioxidant status and DNA single strand breaks (SSB). CCRs are frequently discharged into natural and man-made aquatic systems. As the effects of CCRs have received relatively little attention in estuarine systems, the estuarine grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio, was chosen for this study. Grass shrimp were exposed in the laboratory to CCR-enriched sediments and food over a full life cycle. Survival to metamorphosis was significantly reduced in CCR-exposed larvae (17+/-4 versus 70+/-13% in the controls) but not in the juveniles or adults. The COMET assay, a general but sensitive assay for genotoxicity, was used to quantify DNA SSB in the adults. Total antioxidant potential was examined to assess the overall antioxidant scavenging capacity of CCR-exposed and non-exposed adult grass shrimp. Grass shrimp exposed to CCR significantly accumulated selenium and cadmium compared to unexposed shrimp, although an inverse relationship was seen for mercury accumulation. Chronic CCR exposure caused DNA SSB in hepatopancreas cells, as evidenced by the significantly increased percent tail DNA, tail moment, and tail length as compared to reference shrimp. However, no significant difference was observed in total antioxidant potential. Our findings suggest that genotoxicity may be an important mode of toxicity of CCR, and that DNA SSB may serve as a useful biomarker of exposure and effect of this very common, complex waste stream.
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