Antarctic toothfish Dissostichus mawsoni as a bioindicator of trace and rare earth elements in the Southern Ocean

The Antarctic toothfish Dissostichus mawsoni is a Southern Ocean long-lived top predator which is regularly captured on an annual fishery operating in the region. By its biological and ecological characteristics, it is a potential bioindicator for the concentrations of trace and rare earth elements in the Antarctic. As these elements are mainly transferred through the diet and a deficiency or excess of these elements can lead to diverse health problems, it is important to measure their concentrations on the organisms. This study provides, for the first time, the concentration of 27 trace (major essential, minor essential and non-essential) and rare earth elements in the muscle of D. mawsoni captured in three areas of the Amundsen and Dumont D'Urville Seas (Antarctica). Major essential elements had the highest concentrations, with potassium (K) as the most concentrated, and rare earth elements the lowest. Significant differences between areas were found for most of the studied elements. No bioaccumulation nor biomagnification potential was found for the studied elements, with several elements decreasing concentrations towards larger individuals. Decreasing trends are related with the different habitats occupied by D. mawsoni through their life, suggesting that elements' concentrations in the water is determinant for the concentrations in this top predator, and/or there is a dilution effect as the fish grows. Our results also support that Se presents a detoxification potential for Hg in D. mawsoni, but only when Hg concentrations are higher to unhealthy levels. This study supports D. mawsoni as a potential bioindicator for the concentrations of the different trace and rare earth elements in the Southern Ocean, though only when comparing individuals of similar size/age, but also to evaluate annual changes on their concentrations. Furthermore, D. mawsoni can be a good source of major essential elements to humans with concentrations of major essential elements above some of other marine fish worldwide.


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Authors: Queiros, José P., Machado, João F., Pereira, Eduarda, Bustamante, Paco, Carvalho, Lina, Soares, Eugénio, Stevens, Darren W., Xavier, José C. ORCIDORCID record for José C. Xavier

1 April, 2023
Chemosphere / 321
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