Hg and Se composition in demersal deep-sea fish from the North-East Atlantic

Published on
02. May 2020

Hg and Se composition in demersal deep-sea fish from the North-East Atlantic

Guilherme Teixeira, Joana Raimundo, Joana Goulart, Valentina Costa, Gui M. Menezes, Miguel Caetano, Mário Pacheco, Ines Martins


It has been emphasized that seafood consumers may have a higher risk of mercury (Hg) exposure. Nevertheless, the co-occurrence of selenium (Se) in organisms may affect the toxicity and bioavailability of Hg. In this work, we aim to demonstrate the possible role of Se as a potential protective element against Hg in muscle and liver tissues of three demersal deep-sea fish species: common mora Mora moro, birdbeak dogfish Deania calcea, and smooth lanternshark Etmopterus pusillus. Comparing species, the birdbeak dogfish D. calcea showed the highest Hg concentrations, the lowest Se levels, the lowest mean Se:Hg molar ratio, a negative HBV-Se index, and no correlation between total length. On the other hand, smooth lanternshark E. pusillus showed the lowest Hg concentrations, the highest Se concentrations, the highest mean Se:Hg molar ratio, a positive HBV-Se index, and a significant positive correlation between total length and Se concentrations in muscle. Comparing tissues, the common mora Mora moro seems to accumulate more Hg and Se in liver than shark species D. calcea and E. pusillus that showed to accumulate Hg and Se preferentially in muscle. Our results indicate that these three species for having Hg concentrations near and above the EU regulatory thresholds and for presenting low Se:Hg ratios, and negative (or low positive) HBV-Se index may pose a real risk of Hg toxicity for the consumer.

Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020). DOI: 10.1007/s11356-020-08970-3


Leave a Reply