Heavy metal contamination along the China coastline: A comprehensive study using Artificial Mussels and native mussels

Natalie Degger, Man Ying CHIU*, Beverly H.K. Po, Anna C.K. Tse, Gene J. Zheng, Dong Mei Zhao, Di Xu, Yu Shan Cheng, Xin Hong Wang, Wen Hua Liu, T. C. Lau, Rudolf S.S. Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


A comprehensive study was carried out to assess metal contamination in five cities spanning from temperate to tropical environment along the coastal line of China with different hydrographical conditions. At each of the five cities, Artificial Mussels (AM) were deployed together with a native species of mussel at a control site and a polluted site. High levels of Cr, Cu and Hg were found in Qingdao, high level of Cd, Hg and Pb was found in Shanghai, and high level of Zn was found in Dalian. Furthermore, level of Cu contamination in all the five cities was consistently much higher than those reported in similar studies in other countries (e.g., Australia, Portugal, Scotland, Iceland, Korea, South Africa and Bangladesh). Levels of individual metal species in the AM showed a highly significant correlation with that in the native mussels (except for Zn in Mytilus edulis and Cd in Perna viridis), while no significant difference can be found between the regression relationships of metal in the AM and each of the two native mussel species. The results demonstrated that AM can provide a reliable time-integrated estimate of metal concentration in contrasting environments over large biogeographic areas and different hydrographic conditions, and overcome the shortcomings of monitoring metals in water, sediment and the use of biomonitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-246
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aquatic system health
  • Artificial Mussels
  • China coastline
  • Heavy metal
  • Live mussels


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