Uniquely high turnover of nickel in contaminated oysters Crassostrea hongkongensis : Biokinetics and subcellular distribution

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

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-166
Journal / PublicationAquatic Toxicology
Online published28 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


Despite the environmental concerns regarding nickel (Ni) especially in China, it has received little attention in aquatic animals due to its comparatively weak toxicity. In the present study, we explored the bioaccumulation, biokinetics, and subcellular distribution of Ni in an estuarine oyster Crassostrea hongkongensis. We demonstrated that Ni represented a new pattern of bioaccumulation in oysters characterized by rapid elimination and low dissolved uptake. The waterborne uptake rate constant and dietary assimilation efficiency were 0.036 L/g/h and 28%, respectively, and dissolved uptake was the predominant exposure route. The efflux rate constant was positively related to tissue Ni concentration, with the highest efflux of 0.155 d−1. Such high elimination resulted in a high Ni turnover and steady-state condition reached rapidly, as shown with a 4-week waterborne exposure experiment at different Ni concentrations. Ni in oysters was mainly sequestered in metallothionein-like protein (MTLP), metal-rich granule, and cellular debris. MTLP was the most important binding fraction during accumulation and depuration, and played a dynamic role leading to rapid Ni elimination. Pre-exposure to Ni significantly reduced the dissolved uptake, probably accompanied by depressed filtration activity. Overall, the high turnover and regulation of Ni in oysters were achieved by enhanced efflux, suppressed uptake, and sequestration of most Ni into the detoxified pool. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

Research Area(s)

  • Bioaccumulation, Biokinetics, High turnover, Nickel, Oyster, Subcellular