Acta Vet. Brno 2011, 80: 227-233

Assessment of mercury contamination of the Svitava and Svratka rivers and muscle of chub (Leuciscus cephalus L.) in the urban agglomeration of Brno in the Czech Republic

Kamila Kružíková, Renáta Kenšová, Jana Blahová, Zdeňka Svobodová

Department of Veterinary Public Health and Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Czech Republic

This study focused on the total mercury and methylmercury content in the muscle of chub (Leuciscus cephalus L.), the total mercury in the river sediments and the evaluation of health risks associated with fish contamination. Chub were caught at seven localities on the Svratka and Svitava rivers in the agglomeration of Brno in 2008. The results were compared to those obtained from the same sites in 2007. Total mercury was determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry using an AMA 245 analyzer, and methylmercury was determined by gas chromatography (using an electron-capture detector) after acid digestion and toluene extraction in chub muscle. The highest concentrations of total mercury and methylmercury (0.12 ± 0.14 and 0.07 ± 0.02 mg·kg-1 fresh weight, respectively) were found in Svratka before junction (south of Brno), whereas the lowest concentration of mercury and methylmercury in chub (0.06 ± 0.01 and 0.04 ± 0.01 mg·kg-1) was detected in Svitava before junction with the Svratka River. Total mercury in sediments ranged from 0.01 to 1.05 mg·kg-1 dry weight, the highest value was detected in the sediment from Rajhradice. The lowest content (0.01 mg·kg-1) was at Kníničky. Hazard indices calculated for the selected localities showed no health risk for either a standard consumer or a fishing family. Fish from the Svitava and Svratka rivers show very low mercury concentration and hazard index and their consumption poses no health risk from total mercury and methylmercury contamination.


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