Main Article Content


To understand the bioaccumulation of trace metals in greater lizardfish, Saurida tumbil in Iraqi marine water, fish were monthly collected from May 2021 to April 2022. Heavy metals, including Pb, Ni, Fe, Co, and Cu in surface water, food web, and fish tissues were analyzed. The food of S. tumbil included three fish, crustacea, and squid. Surface water Pb and Fe concentrations were higher during the year, ranging from 10.5±2.83 to 19.98±3.69µg/L and 24.77±2.99 to 29.08±2.67µg/L, respectively. The concentration of heavy metals in different food webs showed that Fe and Pb were higher in fish, Cu was higher in fish and shrimp, and Co was highest in squid. The highest concentration of heavy metals (Pb, Ni, Fe, Co, and Cu) in lizard fish tissues was found in the summer. The food web was responsible for the greatest accumulation of Pb and Ni, in the tissues of lizard fish during summer and winter, whereas seawater was responsible for the greatest accumulation of other trace metals (Fe, Co, and Cu). Heavy metal accumulation in tissues of greater lizardfish concerning seawater was on the order of Ni>Fe>Co>Cu>Pb, regarding the food web, it was in the order of Pb>Ni>Fe>Cu>Co. The results indicated that seawater is responsible for Ni, and Fe accumulation in greater lizardfish tissues, and the food web is responsible for Pb and Ni accumulation. Depending on the mineral, metal concentrations in food or water can be used to predict metal concentrations in fish tissues.


Bioaccumulation Food web Lizard fish Heavy metals

Article Details

How to Cite
AL-NAJARE, G. A., YESSER, A. T., Al-FAIZ, N. A., JABIR, A. A., & YOUNIS, K. H. (2023). Heavy metal accumulation in the tissue and food web of the Greater Lizardfish Saurida tumbil fish in Iraqi marine waters. Iranian Journal of Ichthyology, 9(3), 131–139.


  1. Alhamadany, Q. H.; Yaseen, A.T.; Yesser, A.T. & Ali, A.W. 2021. Chemical and Mineral Composition of Ten Economically Important Fish Species in the Satt Al-Arab River and Iraqi Marine Water Northern West Persian Gulf. The Iraqi Journal of Agricultural Science 52(3): 632-639.
  2. Al-Imarah, F.J.; Amteghy, A.H.; Al-Najar, G.A. & Ahmed, Y. 2017. Seasonal variation of some heavy metals in the tissues of two important Marine Fish Species Epinephelus coioides and Euryglossa orientalis from Iraqi marine waters, northwest Persian Gulf. Mesopotamia Environmental Journal 3(3): 39-41.
  3. Al-Khafaji, K.K.; Al-Malki, G.M. & Karim, R.M. 2018. Biochemical composition and heavy metal accumulation in tissues of the blue crab Portunus pelagicus (Linnaeus, 1766) from NW of Persian Gulf, South Iraq. International Journal of Marine Science 8(17): 146-150.
  4. Al-Najare, G.A.; Jaber, A.A.; Hantoush, A.A. & Talal, A.H. 2016. Accumulation of some heavy metals in Tenualosa ilisha (Hamilton, 1822) collected from Shatt Al-Arab River. Mesopotamian Journal of Marine Sciences 31(2): 119-128.
  5. Al-Najare, G.A.; Hantoush, A.A.; Al-Shammary, A.C. & Al-Saad, H.T. 2013. Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in Acanthopagrus latus collected from Iraqi marine waters. Iraqi Journal of Aquaculture 10(2): 107-122.
  6. Al-Najjar, G.A. 2012. Concentration of metals in the fish Liza subviridis from the Iraqi marine Estimation. Journal of King Abdulaziz University 23(1): 129.
  7. Al-Najare, G.A.; Jaber, A.A.; Talal, A.H. & Hantoush, A.A. 2015. The Concentration of heavy metals (copper, nickel, lead, cadmium, iron, manganese) in Tenualosa ilisha (Hmilton, 1822) hunted from Iraqi marine water. Mesopotamia Environmental Journal 1(3): 31-43.
  8. Al-Najare, G.A.; Jaber, A.A.; Talal, A.H. & Hantoush, A.A. 2015. The concentrations of heavy metals (copper, nickel, lead, cadmium, iron, manganese) in Tenualosa ilisha (Hamilton, 1822) hunted from Iraqi marine water. Mesopotamia Environmental Journal 1(3).
  9. Al-Saad, H.T.; DouAbul, A.A.; Abd, I.M. & Zukhai, M.K. 2008. Tenualosa ilisha (Hamilton-Buchanan) fish collected from Southern Iraq. Marina Mesopotamica 23(2): 237-255.
  10. APHA, (American Public Health Association) 1997, Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. Edited by Lenore S. Clesceri, Arnold E. Greenberg and Rhodes, R. Trussell. 18th Edition 136p.
  11. Bawuro, A.A.; Voegborlo, R.B. & Adimado, A.A. 2018. Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in some tissues of fish in Lake Geriyo, Adamawa State, Nigeria. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. Article ID 1854892. 7 p.
  12. Burger, J.; Gaines, K.F.; Boring, C.S.; Stephens, W.L.; Snodgrass, J.; Dixon, C. & Gochfeld, M. 2002. Metal levels in fish from the Savannah River: potential hazards to fish and other receptors. Environmental Research 89(1): 85-97.
  13. Bustamante, P.; Bocher, P.; Cherel, Y.; Miramand, P. & Caurant, F. 2003. Distribution of trace elements in the tissues of benthic and pelagic fish from the Kerguelen Islands. Science of the Total Environment 313(1-3): 25-39.
  14. Chouvelon, T.; Strady, E.; Harmelin-Vivien, M.; Radakovitch, O.; Brach-Papa, C.; Crochet, S. & Chiffoleau, J.F. 2019. Patterns of trace metal bioaccumulation and trophic transfer in a phytoplankton-zooplankton-small pelagic fish marine food web. Marine Pollution Bulletin 146: 1013-1030.
  15. Cunningham, P.A.; Sullivan, E.E.; Everett, K.H.; Kovach, S.S.; Rajan, A. & Barber, M.C. 2019. Assessment of metal contamination in Persian Gulf fish: A review. Marine Pollution Bulletin 143: 264-283.
  16. Dallinger, R. & Kautzky, H. 1985. The importance of contaminated food for the uptake of heavy metals by rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri): a field study. Oecologia pp. 82-89.
  17. EC. 2001. European Commision Regulation (EC) No. 466/2001 of 8 March 2001. Official Journal of the European Communities, 1.77/1.
  18. FAO. 1983 Compilation of legal limits for hazardous substances in fish and fishery products. FAO Fishery Circular. pp: 5-10.
  19. Hao, Z.; Chen, L.; Wang, C.; Zou, X.; Zheng, F.; Feng, W. & Peng, L. 2019. Heavy metal distribution and bioaccumulation ability in marine organisms from coastal regions of Hainan and Zhoushan, China. Chemosphere 226: 340-350.
  20. Jiang, Z.; Xu, N.; Liu, B.; Zhou, L.; Wang, J.; Wang, C. & Xiong, W. 2018. Metal concentrations and risk assessment in water, sediment and economic fish species with various habitat preferences and trophic guilds from Lake Caizi, Southeast China. Ecotoxicology and environmental Safety 157: 1-8.
  21. Karadede, H.; Oymak, S.A. & Ünlü, E. 2004. Heavy metals in mullet, Liza abu, and catfish, Silurus triostegus, from the Atatürk Dam Lake (Euphrates), Turkey. Environment International 30(2): 183-188.
  22. Lau, S.; Mohamed, M.; Yen, A.T.C. & Su'Ut, S. 1998. Accumulation of heavy metals in freshwater molluscs. Science of the Total Environment 214(1-3): 113-121.
  23. Lipy, E.P.; Hakim, M.; Mohanta, L.C.; Islam, D.; Lyzu, C.; Roy, D.C. & Sayed, A. 2021. Assessment of heavy metal concentration in water, sediment and common fish species of Dhaleshwari River in Bangladesh and their health implications. Biological Trace Element Research 199(11): 4295-4307.
  24. Liu, H.; Liu, G.; Yuan, Z.; Ge, M.; Wang, S.; Liu, Y. & Da, C. 2019. Occurrence, potential health risk of heavy metals in aquatic organisms from Laizhou Bay, China. Marine Pollution Bulletin 140: 388-394.
  25. Lokhande, C.D.; Dubal, D.P, & Joo, O.S. 2011. Metal oxide thin film based supercapacitors. Current Applied Physics 11(3): 255-270.
  26. Mackay, D. & Fraser, A. 2000. Bioaccumulation of persistent organic chemicals: mechanisms and models. Environmental Pollution 110(3): 375-391.
  27. Mathews, T. & Fisher, N.S. 2009. Dominance of dietary intake of metals in marine elasmobranch and teleost fish. Science of the Total Environment 407(18): 5156-5161.
  28. McIntyre, J.K., & Beauchamp, D.A. (2007). Age and trophic position dominate bioaccumulation of mercury and organochlorines in the food web of Lake Washington. Science of the Total Environment 372(2-3): 571-584.
  29. Moiseenko, T.I. & Kudryavtseva, L.P. 2001. Trace metal accumulation and fish pathologies in areas affected by mining and metallurgical enterprises in the Kola Region, Russia. Environmental Pollution 114(2): 285-297.
  30. Neff, J.M. 2002. Bioaccumulation in marine organisms. Effect of contaminants from oil well produced water, Elsevier Ltd.
  31. Nfon, E.; Cousins, I.T.; Järvinen, O.; Mukherjee, A.B.; Verta, M. & Broman, D. 2009. Trophodynamics of mercury and other trace elements in a pelagic food chain from the Baltic Sea. Science of the Total Environment 407(24): 6267-6274.
  32. Gale, N.L.; Adams, C.D.; Wixson, B.G.; Loftin, K.A. & Huang, Y.W. 2004. Lead, zinc, copper, and cadmium in fish and sediments from the Big River and Flat River Creek of Missouri's Old Lead Belt. Environmental Geochemistry and Health 26(1): 37-49.
  33. Pouil, S.; Warnau, M.; Oberhänsli, F.; Teyssié, J.L.; Bustamante, P. & Metian, M. 2016. Influence of food on the assimilation of essential elements (Co, Mn, and Zn) by turbot Scophthalmus maximus. Marine Ecology Progress Series 550: 207-218.
  34. Rainbow, P.S. 2002. Trace metal concentrations in aquatic invertebrates: why and so what. Environmental Pollution 120(3): 497-507.
  35. Randall J.E. 1983. Red Sea Reef Fishes. London, IMMEL Publishing. 192 p.
  36. Riedel, G.F.; Sanders, J.G. & Osman, R.W. 1999. Biogeochemical control on the flux of trace elements from estuarine sediments: effects of seasonal and short-term hypoxia. Marine Environmental Research 47(4): 349-372.
  37. Roesijadi, G. 1994. Metal regulation in aquatic animals: Mechanism of uptake, accumulation and release. Molecular Mechanisms in Aquatic Toxicology pp. 387-420.
  38. ROPME. 1982. Manual of Oceanographic Observation and Pollution Analyses Methods ROPME/ P.O Box 16388. Blzusafa, Kuwait.
  39. Voigt, C.L.; Da Silva, C.P.; Doria, H.B.; Randi, M.A.F.; de Oliveira Ribeiro, C.A. & de Campos, S.X. 2015. Bioconcentration and bioaccumulation of metal in freshwater Neotropical fish Geophagus brasiliensis. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 22(11): 8242-8252.
  40. Vu, C.T.; Lin, C.; Yeh, G. & Villanueva, M.C. 2017. Bioaccumulation and potential sources of heavy metal contamination in fish species in Taiwan: assessment and possible human health implications. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 24(23): 19422-19434.
  41. Wang, W.X. & Rainbow, P.S. 2010. Significance of metallothionein in metal accumulation kinetics in marine animals. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology and Pharmacology 152(1): 1-8.
  42. Weber, P.; Behr, E.R.; Knorr, C.D.L., Vendruscolo, D.S.; Flores, E.M.; Dressler, V.L. & Baldisserotto, B. 2013. Metals in the water, sediment, and tissues of two fish species from different trophic levels in a subtropical Brazilian river. Microchemical Journal 106: 61-66.
  43. WHO 1996. Health criteria other supporting information In: Guidelines for drinking water quality. pp. 31-388? Geneva.