Arsenic contamination in the freshwater fish ponds of Pearl River Delta: Bioaccumulation and health risk assessment

Zhang Cheng, Kun Ci Chen, Kai Bin Li, Xiang Ping Nie*, Sheng Chun Wu, Chris K C WONG, Ming Hung WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the extent of arsenic (As) contamination in five common species of freshwater fish (northern snakehead [Channa argus], mandrarin fish [Siniperca chuatsi], largemouth bass [Lepomis macrochirous], bighead carp [Aristichthys nobilis] and grass carp [Ctenopharyngodon idellus]) and their associated fish pond sediments collected from 18 freshwater fish ponds around the Pearl River Delta (PRD). The total As concentrations detected in fish muscle and sediment in freshwater ponds around the PRD were 0.05-3.01 mg kg-1 wet weight (w. wt) and 8.41-22.76 mg kg-1 dry weight (d. wt), respectively. In addition, the As content was positively correlated (p < 0.05) to total organic carbon (TOC) contents in sediments. Biota sediment accumulation factor (BSAF) showed that omnivorous fish and zooplankton accumulated higher concentrations of heavy metals from the sediment than carnivorous fish. In addition, feeding habits of fish also influence As accumulation in different fish species. In this study, two typical food chains of the aquaculture ponds were selected for investigation: (1) omnivorous food chain (zooplankton, grass carp and bighead carp) and (2) predatory food chain (zooplankton, mud carp and mandarin fish). Significant linear relationships were obtained between log As and δ 15N. The slope of the regression (-0.066 and -0.078) of the log transformed As concentrations and δ 15N values, as biomagnifications power, indicated there was no magnification or diminution of As from lower trophic levels (zooplankton) to fish in the aquaculture ponds. Consumption of largemouth bass, northern snakehead and bighead carp might impose health risks of Hong Kong residents consuming these fish to the local population, due to the fact that its cancer risk (CR) value exceeded the upper limit of the acceptable risk levels (10-4) stipulated by the USEPA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4484-4495
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aquaculture fish
  • Arsenic
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Biomagnification
  • Environmental assessment
  • Pearl River Delta


Dive into the research topics of 'Arsenic contamination in the freshwater fish ponds of Pearl River Delta: Bioaccumulation and health risk assessment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this