Analysis of Some Elements and Speciated Compounds in Fish Found in the New Calabar River of the Niger Delta Area, Nigeria

Ndubuisi Kingsley Owhonda(Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria)


The flesh of guinean and blackchin tilapia, and mullet found in Choba river were collected for elemental studies of mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, nickel and speciated forms. Analytical method of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) was used for the elemental studies while Gas chromatographymass spectrometer (GC-MS) was used for the speciated forms. 4.3 mg/kg was the highest concentration of cadmium observed in blackchin tilapia. The three fish species all contained about 0.5 mg/kg of arsenic and 1 mg/kg of mercury. 1.7 mg/kg of lead was detected in mullet while 7.3 mg/kg of nickel was detected in blackchin tilapia. Organometallic compounds found were nickel tetracarbonyl, borane carbonyl in guinean tilapia, nickel tetracarbonyl, borane carbonyl and germanium(iv) pthalocyanine dichloride in blackchin tilapia and [µ-(ƞ6-benzene)] bis (ƞ5-2,4-cyclopentadien-yl) diµ-hydrodi-vanadium. Borane carbonyl was found in mullet.


Arsenic; Mercury; Lead; Nickel; Cadmium; Speciated form; Guinean and blackchin tilapia; Mullet; X-ray fluorescence; GC-MS

Full Text:



Hutton, M. (1987). Human Health Concerns of lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. In Chapter 6, Book title “Lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic in the environment”. Published by John Wiley and Sons Limited. Edited by Hutchinson and Meena, K.M, pp.55-68.

Toury, R., Stelly, N., Boissonneau, E. and Dupuis, Y. (1985). Degenerate processes in skeletal muscle of Cd-treated rats and CdZf inhibition of mitochondrial Ca2+ transport. Journal of toxicology and applied pharmacology, 77: 19-35.

Vallee, B. and Ulmer, D. (1972). Biochemical effects of mercury, cadmium and lead. Annual Review of Biochemistry, 41: 91-128.

Cleland, W.W (1964). Dithiothreitol, a new protective reagent for SH groups. Biochemistry 3: 480-482.

Jones, F.T. (2007). A broad view of arsenic. Poultry Science, 86: 2-14.

Petroczi, A. and Naughton, D.P. (2009). Mercury, cadmium and lead contamination in seafood: A comparative study to evaluate the usefulness of Target Hazard Quotients. Food Chemistry and Toxicology 47: 298-302.

Nepuscz, T., Petroczi, A. and Naughton, D.P. (2009). Food alert patterns for metal contamination analyses in seafoods: Longitudinal and geographical perspectives. Environment International 35: 1030-1033.

Smedley, P.L and Kinniburgh, D.G (2002). A review of the source, behaviour and distribution of

arsenic in natural waters. Applied Geochemistry 17:517-568.

Osman, A., Wuertz, S., Mekkawy, I., Exner, H and Kirschbaum, F. (2007): Journal of Environmental Toxicology 22 (4): 375-389.

Boudou, A. and Ribeyre, F. (1997). Mercury in the food web. Accumulation and transfer mechanisms. Metal ions in Biological Systems 34: 289-319.

Clarkson, T.W. (1990). Methylmercury. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology. 16: 20-21.

Ning, W.Y., Christopher, G., Christopher, D.I., Douglas, K., Hardesty, T., May, T., Augspurger,

A.D., Roberts, G., Eric, G. and Chris, M. (2010). Sensitivity of early life stages of freshwater mussles (Uniondae) to acute and chronic toxicity of lead, cadmium and zinc in water. Journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 29 (9): 2053-2063.

Yuangen, Y., Feili, L., Xiangyang, B., Li, S., Taoze, L., Zhisheng, J. and Congqiang, L. (2011). Lead, zinc and cadmium in vegetable/crops in a Zinc Smelting Region and its Potential Human Toxicity. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 87:586-590.

Abelardo, A.S., Jose, L.D and Jorge, H (2011).Nickel toxicity in embryos and larvae of the South American toad. Effects on cell differentiation, morphogenesis and oxygen consumption. Journal of Environmental toxicology and Chemistry, 30 (5): 1146-1152.

WHO (2001). Arsenic and Arsenic Compounds (Environmental Health Criteria 224), 2nd ed. Geneva:World Health Organization, International Programme on Chemical Safety, p.1- 8.

Dienye, H.E and Woke, G.N (2015). Physico-chemical Parameters of the Upper and Lower Reach of the New Calabar River, Niger Delta. Journal of Fisheries and Lifestock Production, 3 (4):1-4.

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC,1995). Speciation of lead in Environmental and Biological samples. Pure and Applied Chemistry, 67 (4):615-648.

International Programme on Chemical Safety (2007). DOI: 18 Sustainable Marine Structures | Volume 02 | Issue 02 | July 2020 Distributed under creative commons license 4.0

Cadmium, cadmium chloride, cadmium oxide, cadmium sulphide, cadmium acetate, cadmium sulphate. Geneva, World Health Organization, pp.1075-1318.

WHO (World Health Organization) (2010). Preventing Disease through Healthy Environments. Exposure to Cadmium. A Major Public Health Concern.Geneva, pp. 1-3.

FAO/WHO (2010). Summary and conclusions of the seventy-second meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, Rome, 16–25 February 2010. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Geneva, World Health Organization (JECFA/72/SC, pp.1-10.

WHO (World Health Organization) (2007): Preventing disease through healthy environments. Exposure to mercury: A Major Public Concern, pp. 1-4.

European Union Commission Committee for regulating heavy metals Directive 2001/22/EC,

No.:466/2001, 2001, p.1-5.

Stedman, D.H., Hikade, D.D., Pearson, R. and Yalvac, E.d (1980). “Nickel Carbonyl: Decomposition in Air and Related Kinetics Studies”. Science 208


European Medicines Agency (2007). Preauthoriaation Evaluation of Medicines for Human Use, pp.1-32.

Racchelle Beveridge (2008): Department of Medicine, University of Montreal. Lung cancer Risk associated with occupational exposure to nickel, chromium (VI) and cadmium in two population-based studies in Montreal, pp. 10-15.

Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology (2008). “Nickel Carbonyl”: Acute Exposure Guideline Levels”. Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airbone Chemicals 6. National Academics Press, pp. 213-259.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright © 2021 Ndubuisi Kingsley Owhonda

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
: +65 65881289 :