Acta Vet. Brno 2006, 75: 579-585

Total Mercury and Methylmercury Contamination in Fish from Sites along the Elbe River

P. Maršálek1,2, Z. Svobodová2,3, T. Randák3

1State Veterinary Institute, Brno Czech Republic
2University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic
3University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Research Institute of Fish Culture and Hydrobiology, Vodňany, Czech Republic

Received February 8, 2006
Accepted September 5, 2006

The aim of the study was to evaluate total mercury Hg and methylmercury MeHg contamination in muscle tissues of fish collected in 2002 from the Labe (Elbe) river at sites upstream of Pardubice and downstream of Pardubice and Hřensko, and in 2004 from the Labe river upstream and downstream of the Spolana factory in Neratovice, and from the Vltava river downstream of Lenora. Eighty eight fish of the following species were sampled: bream (Abramis brama L.), perch (Perca fluviatilis L.), chub (Leuciscus cephalus L.) and barbel (Barbus barbus L.). Total mercury content in chub, perch and bream was in the range of 0.05 - 1.96 mg kg-1 w.w., 0. 09 - 1.46 mg kg-1 w.w. and 0.35 - 0.82 mg kg-1 w.w., respectively. Methylmercury content in chub, perch and bream was in the range of 0.04 - 2.11 mg kg-1 w.w., 0.1 - 1.73 mg kg-1 w.w. and 0.371 - 0.650 mg kg-1 w.w., respectively. Significant correlation (p < 0.05) was found between contents of THg and MeHg and both the weight and the age of fish. Significant differences (p < 0.05) between THg and MeHg contents were found between individual sites. In 2002, for example, the most contaminated fish were found downstream of Pardubice, followed by fish from upstream of Pardubice and from Hřensko. In 2004, fish from downstream and upstream of the Spolana factory in Neratovice were more contaminated than fish from the Vltava river downstream of Lenora. The methylmercury-tototal mercury ratio in muscle tissue was close to 1.0.