Comparative account of accumulation of heavy metals and structural alterations in scales of five fish species from Harike Wetland, India

Onkar Singh BRRAICH, Sulochana JANGU


Harike wetland is a wetland of international importance (Ramsar site). It is a source of numerous direct and indirect values like water for drinking and irrigation, habitat for natural flora and fauna, fishing and navigation. From last three decades this fragile aquatic ecosystem receives continuous waste water discharge from agricultural, sewage and industrial sources including heavy metals, hence, the purpose of this study was to investigate the presence and percentage of heavy metal (Cu, Zn, Pb, Ni, Cd, Cr, Fe, and Al) in the scales of five fish species (Labeo rohita, Catla catla, Cirrhinus mrigala, Labeo calbasu and Cyprinus carpio) of Harike wetland employing energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDX) technique. The result has shown the most common heavy metals detected in Harike wetland are cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Copper (Cu), Nickel (Ni), Lead (Pb), Zinc (Zn), Iron (Fe) and Aluminum (Al). The occurrence of these metals is different in different fish species. Some other pollutants like Carbon (C), Sulphur (S) and Silicon (Si) were also detected in scales. Various abnormalities have been identified in the scale structure due to alteration of elemental composition like dislocation and uprooting of lepidonts from their point of attachment to circuli, broken and disorganized circuli and hole-like depression formed by uprooted lepidonts.


Ramsar site, Pollution, Scales, EDX, Cyprinid fishes.

Full Text:



Ahmed, M.S. & Bibi, S. 2010. Uptake and bioaccumulation of waterborne lead (Pb) in the fingerlings of a freshwater cyprinid, Catla catla L. Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences 20: 201-207.

Berntssen, M.H.G.; Aspholm, O.; Hylland, K.; Bonga, S.E.W. & Lundebye, A.K. 2001. Tissue metalloinein, apoptosis and cell proliferation responses in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) parr fed elevated dietary cadmium. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology C 128: 299-310.

Brraich, O.S. & Jangu, S. 2013. Fish scale as pollution indicator in Harike wetland. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences 3(2): 173-182.

Brraich, O.S. & Jangu, S. 2012. Scales of fish Cyprinus carpio (Linnaeus) as heavy metal pollution indicator in Harike wetland (Ramsar site). Trends in Fisheries Research 3: 5-8.

Burger, J. & Gochfeld, M. 2009. Perceptions of the risks and benefits of fish consumption: Individual choices to reduce risk and increase health benefits. Environmental Research 109: 343-349.

Burger, J.; Gaines, K.F.; Boring, C.S.; Stephens, W.L.; Snodgrass, J.; Dixon, C.; McMahon, M.; Shukla, S.; Sukla, T. & Gochfed, M. 2002. Metal levels in fish from the Savannah River: Potential hazards to fish and other receptors. Environmental Research 89: 85-97.

Ersoy, B. & Celik, M. 2009. Essential elements and contaminants in tissues of commercial pelagic fish from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Science Food Agriculture 89(9): 1615-1621.

Francis, P.C.; Birge, W.J.; Black, J.A. 2004. Effects of cadmium enriched sediment on fish and amphibian embryo-larval stages. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry 36: 403-409.

Fraser, M.; Surette, C. & Vaillancourt, C. 2012. Fish and seafood availability in markets in the Baie des Chaleurs region, New Brunswick, Canada: a heavy metal contamination baseline study. Environmental Science Pollution Research DOI 10.1007/s11356-012-1134-3.

Godwin, T.H.; Young, A.R.; Holmes, M.G.R.; Old, G.H. & Hewitt, N. 2003. The temporal and spatial variability of sediment transport and yields within the Bradford Beck Catchment, West Yorkshire. Sciences of the Total Environment 314(a): 475-494.

Jain, S.K.; Sarkar, A. & Garg, V. 2008. Impact of declining trends of flow on Harike wetland, India. Water Research and Management 22: 409-421.

Jangu, S. & Brraich, O.S. 2014. Bioaccumulation of heavy metal pollutants in the scales of a freshwater fish, Catla catla from Harike wetland, India. International Journal of Scientific Research 3: 392-393.

Javid, A.; Javed, M.; Abdullah, S. & Ali, Z. 2007. Bioaccumulation of lead in the bodies of major carps (Catla catla, Labeo rohita and Cirrhinus mrigala) during 96h LC50 exposure. International Journal Agriculture and Biology 9(6): 909-912.

Jezierska, B. & Witeska, M. 2006. The metal uptake and accumulation in fish living in polluted water. Soil Water Pollution Monitoring Remediation 3(23): 107-114.

McGeer, J.C.; Szebedinsky, C.; Gordon Mc Donald, D. & Wood, C.M. 2000. Effects of chronic sublethal exposure to waterborne Cu, Zn or Cd in rainbow trout: tissue specific metal accumulation. Aquatic Toxicology 50: 245-256.

Nussey, G.; Van Vuren, J.H.J. & Du Preez, H.H. 2000. Bioaccumulation of chromium, manganese, nickel and lead in the tissues of Moggel, Labeo umbratus (Cyprinidae), from Witbank Dam, Mpumalanga. Water SA 26(2): 269-284.

Oguzie, F.A. 2003. Heavy metals in fish, water and effluents of lower, Ikpoba River in Benin City, Nigeria. Pakistan Journal of Science and Industrial Research 46: 156-160.

Puel, D.; Zsueager, N. and Breittmayer, J.P. 1987. Statistical assessment of a sampling pattern for evaluation of changes in Hg and Zn concentration in Patella coerulea. Bulletin Environmental Contamination Toxicology 38: 700-706.

Rademacher, D.J.; Steinpreis, R.E. & Weber, D.N. 2003. Effects of dietary lead or dimercapto sussinic acid exposure on regional serotonin and serotonin metabolic content in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Neuroscience Letters 339: 156-160.

Rauf, A.; Javed, M. & Ubaidullah, M. 2009. Heavy metal levels in three major carps (Catla catla, Labeo rohita and Cirrhina mrigala) from the river Ravi Pakistan. Pakistan Veterinary Journal 29: 24-26.

Verbeke, W.; Sioen, I.; Pieniak, Z.; Van Camp, J. & De Henauw, S. 2005. Consumer perception versus scientific evidence about health benefits and safety risks from fish consumption. Public Health Nutrition 8(4): 422-429.

Yacoub, A.M. & Gad, N.S. 2012. Accumulation of some heavy metal and biochemical alterations in muscles of Oreochromis niloticus from the river Nile in Upper Egypt. International Journal of Environmental Sciences and Engineering 3: 1-10.


  • There are currently no refbacks.