Mercury exposure in the freshwater tilapia Oreochromis niloticus

Rui WANG, Ming Hung WONG, Wen-Xiong WANG

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68 Citations (Scopus)


Mercury (Hg) can be strongly accumulated and biomagnified along aquatic food chain, but the exposure pathway remains little studied. In this study, we quantified the uptake and elimination of both inorganic mercury [as Hg(II)] and methylmercury (as MeHg) in an important farmed freshwater fish, the tilapia Oreochromis niloticus, using ²⁰³Hg radiotracer technique. The dissolved uptake rates of both mercury species increased linearly with Hg concentration (tested at ng/L levels), and the uptake rate constant of MeHg was 4 times higher than that of Hg(II). Dissolved uptake of mercury was highly dependent on the water pH and dissolved organic carbon concentration. The dietborne assimilation efficiency of MeHg was 3.7-7.2 times higher than that of Hg(II), while the efflux rate constant of MeHg was 7.1 times lower. The biokinetic modeling results showed that MeHg was the greater contributor to the overall mercury bioaccumulation and dietary exposure was the predominant pathway. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2694-2701
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


Wang, R., Wong, M.-H., & Wang, W.-X. (2010). Mercury exposure in the freshwater tilapia Oreochromis niloticus. Environmental Pollution, 158(8), 2694-2701. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.04.019


  • Mercury
  • Fish
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Biokinetic study
  • Exposure pathway


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