Total Mercury and Methylmercury Content in Edible Fish from the Mediterranean Sea
Abstract:The objective of this study was to determine the current levels of total mercury and methylmercury in the muscle tissues of different fish species caught in the Mediterranean Sea to ascertain whether these concentrations exceed the maximum level stipulated by the European Commission Decision. Total mercury concentrations in the muscles of skates ranged from 0.18 to 1.85 mg/kg (wet weight) (average, 1.00 mg/kg) while levels of 0.11 to 1.92 mg/kg (wet weight) (average, 0.70 mg/kg) and 0.21 to 1.74 mg/kg (wet weight) (average, 0.70 mg/kg) were recorded for blue whiting and red mullet, respectively. For 66.7% of long nose skate samples, 61.4% of thornback ray samples, 42.8% of winter skate samples, and 38% of starry ray samples, the total mercury concentrations exceeded the prescribed legal limit (1.0 mg/kg [wet weight]). Concentrations exceeding the maximum total mercury level stipulated by the European Commission Decision (0.5 mg/kg [wet weight]) were observed in 63.6 and 40% of blue whiting and striped mullet samples, respectively. Mercury was present in the different species almost completely in the methylated form at 55 to 100%. Weekly intakes were estimated and compared with the provisional tolerable weekly intake recommended by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Pharmacological-Biological Department, Chemistry and Biochemistry Section, Veterinary Medicine Faculty, University of Bari, Strada Provinciale per Casamassima Km 3, 70010 Valenzano (Ba), Italy 2: Biochemistry Institute, Veterinary Medicine Faculty, University of Teramo, Localita`Piano D'Accio, 64-64100 Teramo, Italy 3: Pharmacological-Biological Department, Chemistry and Biochemistry Section, Veterinary Medicine Faculty, University of Bari, Strada Provinciale per Casamassima Km 3, 70010 Valenzano (Ba), Italy
Publication date: February 1, 2003
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