Differential influences of Cu and Zn chronic exposure on Cd and Hg bioaccumulation in an estuarine oyster

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

18 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-210
Journal / PublicationAquatic Toxicology
Online published24 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


In this study, the effects of Cu and Zn exposure, alone and in combination, on the bioaccumulation of Cd and Hg were investigated in an estuarine oyster Crassostrea hongkongensis under different salinity gradients. We showed that Zn, but not Cu, exposure significantly enhanced the Cd bioaccumulation. In contrast, both Cu and Zn exposure significantly enhanced the Hg bioaccumulation. Combined exposure and salinity did not affect the metal interactions in oysters. The increased tissue concentrations of Cd or Hg were associated with their increased storage in inducible metal-binding ligands (e.g. metallothionein-like proteins, MTLP) by Cu/Zn exposure. The differential roles of Cu and Zn exposure in Cd and Hg bioaccumulation resulted from their contrasting ligand induction and affinities. Analysis of field collected oysters indicated that Cu/Zn exposure was a significant contributor to tissue concentrations of Cd, Cu and Hg. Overall, biochemical/physiological changes of the animals chronically exposed to metal stressors played a key role in affecting tissue concentrations of other metals. One metal's ability to enhance the bioaccumulation of other metals depended upon the relative affinities of the metals for MTLP. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Research Area(s)

  • Bioaccumulation, Cadmium, Copper, Mercury, Metallothioneins, Oyster, Zinc