Hepatic metallothionein as a biomarker for metal contamination: Age effects and seasonal variation in European flounders (Pleuronectes flesus) from the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel
Rotchell, J., Clarke, K., Newton, L. and Bird, D. J. (2001) Hepatic metallothionein as a biomarker for metal contamination: Age effects and seasonal variation in European flounders (Pleuronectes flesus) from the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel. Marine Environmental Research, 52 (2). pp. 151-171. ISSN 0141-1136
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0141-1136(00)00270-1
Hepatic concentrations of metallothionein [MT] and three metals (Cu, Zn, Cd) were determined in 242 European flounders (Pleuronectes flesus) collected from power stations at Oldbury-upon-Severn and Hinkley Point, located in Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel, UK, respectively, between March 1996 and February 1998. A model involving three-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to examine variation in MT and metal concentrations with respect to season, year and site; with age-class included as a covariate in the analysis. Hepatic concentrations of MT and Cd (and to some degree, Cu, but not Zn) increased significantly with age. The model explained 38, 25, 17 and 26% of the variation in MT, Cu, Zn and Cd, respectively, with significant effects due to season, and to a lesser extent, to year. Site was only a significant factor for Cd which was higher in fish from Hinkley. Correlation between the individual concentration of MT and each metal alone, or in combination, was poor, and explained only an additional 3.0% of the residual variation in MT, most of which was attributable to Cu (2.7%). Compared to other industrialised estuaries, Cd concentrations were high (>20 μg g−1 in some individuals). The study emphasises the importance of seasonal variation and other factors in biomonitoring programmes and highlights the limitations of using [MT] as a biomarker for metal contamination in flounders from the Severn Estuary.