Trace metals and organochlorines in the bamboo shark Chiloscyllium plagiosum from the southern waters of Hong Kong, China

Andrew S. CORNISH, W.C. NG, Valerie C.M. HO, H.L. WONG, Chung Wah James LAM, Paul K.S. LAM, Kenneth M.Y. LEUNG

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The bamboo shark Chiloscyllium plagiosum is an abundant benthic species along the shallow continental shelf of Southeast Asia. It is commonly taken by fishermen in China, India, Taiwan and Thailand for human consumption. This study measured trace metal and organochlorine concentrations in C. plagiosum collected from the southern waters of Hong Kong, China. Metals (Ag, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn) were measured in three different tissues: dorsal muscle, spleen and liver. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlorinated pesticides in the dorsal muscle were identified and quantified using gas chromatography. Metal concentrations varied among the three different tissues, with liver having higher levels of Ag and Cd, and spleen possessing higher levels of Cu and Mn. Both Ni and Pb in all tissues were below the detection limit. Tissue concentrations of Cr, Cu, Mn and Zn generally decreased with increasing body weight whilst no significant concentration-size relationship was found for other metals. In muscle tissues, total PCBs ranged from 1.056–4.771 ng/g (wet wt.) with a median of 1.801 ng/g, while total DDTs ranged from 0.602–23.55 ng/g with a median of 1.109 ng/g, in which p,p′-DDE was the predominant metabolite. Levels of total hexachlorohexanes and cyclodienes were low. The pesticide p,p′-DDT was the only compound found to be positively correlated with body weight, indicating temporal bioaccumulation of this compound. Zn concentrations in the muscle of C. plagiosum were comparatively higher than recorded in other shark species, however, concentrations of other metals and organochlorines were relatively low. C. plagiosum feeds primarily on polychaetes, shrimps and small fishes, and thus is unlikely to contain levels of contaminants of human health concern. Copyright © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-345
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007



Cornish, A. S., Ng, W. C., Ho, V. C. M., Wong, H. L., Lam, J. C. W., Lam, P. K. S., & Leung, K. M. Y. (2007). Trace metals and organochlorines in the bamboo shark Chiloscyllium plagiosum from the southern waters of Hong Kong, China. Science of The Total Environment, 376(1-3), 335-345. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.01.070


  • Seafood safety
  • Ecological risk
  • Marine pollution
  • Chiloscyllium plagiosum