Total arsenic accumulation in yabbies (
Cerax destructorClark) exposed to elevated arsenic in Victorian gold mining areas
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Williams, G and West, JM and Snow, ET, Total arsenic accumulation in yabbies (
Cerax destructorClark) exposed to elevated arsenic in Victorian gold mining areas, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry , 27, (6) pp. 1332-1342. ISSN 0730-7268 (2008) [Refereed Article]
Arsenic is a proven carcinogen often found at high concentrations in association with gold and other heavy metals. The freshwater yabby, Cherax destructor Clark (Decapoda, Parastacidae), is a ubiquitous species native to Australia's central and eastern regions, with a growing international commercial market. However, in this region of Australia, yabby farmers often harvest organisms from old mine tailings dams with elevated environmental arsenic levels. Yabbies exposed to elevated environmental arsenic were found to accumulate and store as much as 100 μg/g arsenic in their tissues. The accumulation is proportional to the concentration of arsenic in the sediment and is high enough to be of concern for people who eat the yabbies. A comparison of arsenic levels in wild and lab-fed animals also was performed. Although there was no significant difference in the level of arsenic in the various organs of the wild animals, the animals purchased from a yabby farm showed a significantly higher arsenic concentration in their hepatopancreas (3.7 ± 0.9 μg/g) compared to other organs (0.6-1.8 μg/g). Furthermore, after a 40-d exposure to food containing 200 to 300 μg/g inorganic arsenic, arsenate (As[V])-exposed animals showed a significant increase in tissue-specific arsenic accumulation, whereas arsenite (As[III])-exposed animals showed a lower, nonsignificant increase in As uptake, primarily in the hepatopancreas. These results have important implications for yabby growers and consumers alike. © 2008 SETAC.
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