Assessment of metallic contamination in sediment and mullet fish (Mugil cephalus Linnaeus, 1758) tissues from the East Algerian coast


The present work was designed to assess the contamination level in the coastal of Annaba, following the spectrophotometric determination of the level of some metallic elements (Fe, Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni and Cd) in the sediments along an increasing bathymetric gradient (10 m and 20 m), as well as in the biological indicator grey mullet (Mugil cephalus) muscle. During the winter period (2014), 12 surface sediment samples, and a total of 24 fish were collected. Once the samples are dried, crushed and sieved, 0.5 g dry weight of each sample was added to concentrated acids. The results showed that the levels of some metals are superior to the recommended guideline values, and consequently the sediment of this bay is contaminated by iron, lead and copper. The contamination index (CI) showed a general tendency in the concentration of the studied metals as follows: Fe > Pb > Cu > Zn > Ni > Cd, since the most studied metals occurred at higher concentration in depth (20 m).

However, the average concentrations of metals in fishes were found to be as the following order: Fe > Zn > Pb > Cu > Ni > Cd. The consumption of fish from some contaminated sites can be dangerous because concentrations of lead, cadmium and zinc exceed the international standards. Moreover, the strong positive correlation observed between the metallic elements of sediments and fishes confirm that these metals resulted from the similar sources of the anthropic activities, such as domestic, port, industrial and agricultural waste discharges. This is confirmed by the determined of pollution load index (PLI) parameter. Conclusively, a regular monitoring program of heavy metal is recommended for protecting these organisms, and to reduce the environmental risks.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Abdennour C., Smith B.D., Boulakoud M.S., Samraoui B., Rainbow P.S. 2000. Trace metals in shrimps and sediments from Algerian water. Journal of Materials and Environmental Science. Vol. 3 p. 9–12.

  • ABHA 1999. Report N° 1. L’Agence du Bassin Hydrographique d’Annaba, Le Bassin de la Seybouse pp. 35.

  • ABRMC 1991. Pollution du Rhône [Pollution of the Rhône]. Synthèse des connaissances ministère de l’environnement français. Vol. 7. No. 71470 pp. 26.

  • Aminot A., Chaussepied M. 1983. Manual of chemical analyses in the marine environment. Paris. National Center for the Exploitation of the Oceans. ISBN 2-902721-10-2 pp. 396.

  • Augier H., Park W.K., Ramonda G. 1992. Study of geographical and seasonal metal content variations in different parts of edible sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus Lamarck from three Provençal test areas. Revue internationale d’océanographie médicale. No. 107–108 p. 75–89.

  • Barath Kumar S., Padhi R.K., Mohanty A.K. Satpathy K.K. 2017. Elemental distribution and trace metal contamination in the surface sediment of south east coast of India. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Vol. 114. Iss. 2 p. 1164–1170.

  • Belabed B.E., Affray X., Dhib A., Fertouna-Belakhal M., Turki S., Aleya L. 2013. Factors contributing to heavy metal accumulation in sediments and in the intertidal mussel Perna perna in the Gulf of Annaba (Algeria). Marine Pollution Bulletin. Vol. 74. Iss. 1 p. 477–489.

  • Belabed B.E., Meddour A.N., Samraoui B. Chenchouni H. 2017. Modeling seasonal and spatial contamination of surface waters and upper sediments with trace metal elements across industrialized urban areas of the Seybouse watershed in North Africa. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Vol. 189 p. 1–19.

  • Benguedda-Rahal W. 2012. Contribution à l’étude de la bioaccumulation métallique dans les sédiments et différents maillons de la chaine trophique du littoral Extrême Ouest Algérien [Contribution to the study of metallic bioaccumulation in sediments and different links in the tropic chain of the extreme west coast of Algeria]. PhD Thesis. Tlemcen. University of Tlemcen pp. 117.

  • Bryan G.W. 1984. Pollution due to heavy metals and their compounds. In: Marine ecology. Ed. O. Kinne. 5. Ocean management: 3. Pollution and protection of the seas, radioactive materials, heavy metals and oil p. 1289–1431.

  • Buggy C.J., Tobin J.M. 2008. Seasonal and spatial distribution of metals in surface sediment of an urban estuary. Environnemental Pollution. Vol. 155. Iss. 2 p. 308–319.

  • Canli M., Atli G. 2003. The relationships between heavy metal (Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Zn) levels and the size of six Mediterranean fish species. Environmental Pollution. Vol. 121. Iss. 1 p. 129–136.

  • Chen H., Chen R., Teng Y., Wu J. 2016. Contamination characteristics, ecological risk and source identification of trace metals in sediments of the Lean River (China). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. Vol. 125 p. 85–92.

  • Christophoridis C., Dedepsidis D., Fytianos K. 2009. Occurrence and distribution of selected heavy metals in the surface sediments of the Thermaikos Gulf, N. Greece. Assessment using pollution indicators. Journal of Hazardous Materials. Vol. 168 p. 1082–1091.

  • Codex Alimentarius Commission: 2001. Lead: maximum levels. Vol. 1. Codex Stan 230.

  • Conor R. 1980. Metal contamination of food. London. Applied Science Publish. Ltd. ISBN 0853349053 pp. 235.

  • Debieche T.H. 2002. Evolution de la qualité des eaux (salinité, azote et métaux lourds) sous l’effet de la pollution saline, agricole et industrielle: Application à la basse plaine de la Seybouse (N.E algérien) [Evolution of water quality (salinity, nitrogen and heavy metals) under the effect of saline, agricultural and industrial pollution: Application to the low plain of Seybouse (Algerian N.E)]. PhD Thesis. Besançon. University of Franche-Comté pp. 199.

  • Di Leo A., Annicchiarico C., Cardellicchio N., Spada L., Giandomenico S. 2013. Trace metal distributions in Posidonia oceanica and sediments from Taranto Gulf (Ionian Sea, Southern Italy). Mediterranean Marine Science. Vol. 14. Iss. 1 p. 204–213.

  • Diop M., Howsam M., Diop C., Goossens J.F., Diouf A., Amara R. 2016. Assessment of trace element contamination and bioaccumulation in algae (Ulva lactuca), mussels (Perna perna), shrimp (Penaeus kerathurus), and fish (Mugil cephalus, Saratherondon melanotheron) along the Senegalese coast. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Vol. 103. Iss. 1 p. 339–343.

  • EC 2006. Commission regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs. OJ EU L 364.

  • El Zrelli R., Courjault-Rade P., Rabaoui L., Cstet S., Michel S., Bejaoui N. 2015. Heavy metal contamination and ecological risk assessment in the surface sediments of the coastal area surrounding the industrial complex of Gabes city, Gulf of Gabes, SE Tunisia. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Vol. 101. Iss. 2 p. 922–929.

  • Ennouri R., Mili S., Chouba L. 2013. La contamination metallique du rouget de vase (Mullus barbatus) et de la sardinelle (Sardinella aurita) du golfe de Tunis [Metallic contamination of red mullet (Mullus barbatus) and round sardinella (Sardinella aurita) from the Gulf of Tunis Cybium]. International Journal of Ichthyology. Vol. 37. Iss. 1–2 p. 49–59.

  • Fowler S.W. 1986. Trace metal monitoring of pelagic organisms from the open Mediterranean Sea. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Vol. 7. Iss. 1 p. 59–78.

  • Golam-Mortuza M., Al-Misned F.A. 2017. Environmental contamination and assessment of heavy metals in water, sediments, and shrimp of Red Sea coast of Jizan, Saudi Arabia. Journal of Aquatic Pollution and Toxicology. 1:1.

  • Guillon-Cottard I. 1997. Les ports de plaisance et leur impact sur l’environnement maritime et terrestre : étude de cas (Provence, Méditerranée, France) [Harbours and its impact on the maritime and terrestrial environment: case study (Provence, Mediterranean, France)]. PhD Thesis. Marseille. Paul Cézanne University Aix-Marseille III pp. 486.

  • Hamza-Chaffai A., Romeo M., Abed A.E. 1996. Heavy metals in different fishes from the middle eastern coast of Tunisia. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. Vol. 56 p. 766–773.

  • Joanny M., Chaussepied M., Corre F. 1983. Presentation of oceans results. Oceanological Center of Brittany (CNEXO/COB). pp. 49.

  • Khan M.Z.H., Hasan M.R., Khan M., Aktar S., Fatema K. 2017. Distribution of heavy metals in surface sediments of the Bay of Bengal Coast. Journal of Toxicology. Vol. 2017 p. 7. DOI 10.1155/2017/9235764.

  • Khelifi-Touhami M., Ounissi M., Saker I., Haridi A., Djorfi S., Abdennour C. 2006. The hydrology of the Mafrag estuary (Algeria): Transport of inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus to the adjacent coast. Journal of Food Agriculture and Environment. Vol. 4 p. 340–346.

  • Kim B.S.M., Salaroli A.B., De Lima Ferreira P.A., Sartoretto J.R., De Mahiques M.M., Figueira R.C.L. 2016. Spatial distribution and enrichment assessment of heavy metals in surface sediments from Baixada Santista, Southeastern Brazil. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Vol. 103. Iss. 1–2 p. 333–338.

  • Kucuksezgin F., Kontas A., Altay O., Uluturhan E., Darilmaz E. 2006. Assessment of marine pollution in Izmir Bay: Nutrient, heavy metal and total hydrocarbon concentrations. International Environment. Vol. 32 p. 41–51.

  • Kwok C., Liang Y., Wang H., Dong Y., Leung S., Wang M.H. 2014. Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in fish and ardeid at Pearl River Estuary, China. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. Vol. 106 p. 62–67.

  • Lafabrie C., Pergent G., Kantin R., Pergent-Martini C., Gonzalez J.L. 2007. Trace metals assessment in water, sediment, mussel and seagrass species – Validation of the use of Posidonia Oceanica as a metal biomonitor. Chemosphere. Vol. 68. Iss. 11 p. 2033–2039.

  • Lenoble V., Omanovic D., Garnier C., Mounier S., Đonlagic N., Le Poupon C., Pizeta I. 2013. Distribution and chemical speciation of arsenic and heavy metals in highly contaminated waters used for health care purposes (Srebrenica, Bosnia, and Herzegovina). Science of the Total Environment. Vol. 443 p. 420–428.

  • Li X.D., Wang D.C., Wai O.M.Ho, Li Y.S., Liu W.X., Shen Z.G. 2003. Multivariate statistical study of heavy metal enrichment in sediments of the early river estuary. Environmental Pollution. Vol. 121 p. 377–388.

  • Mahu E., Nyarko E., Hulme S., Coale K.H. 2015. Distribution and enrichment of trace metals in marine sediments from the Eastern equatorial Atlantic, off the coast of Ghana in the Gulf of Guinea. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Vol. 98 p. 301–307.

  • Mc Alister J.J., Smith B.J., Neto J.B., Simpson J.K. 2005. Geochemical distribution and bioavailability of heavy metals and oxalate in street sediments from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: A preliminary investigation. Environmental Geochemistry and Health. Vol. 27 p. 429–441.

  • Medeiros R.J., Dos Santos L.M.G., Freire A.S., Santelli R.E., Braga A.M.C.B., Krauss T.M., Jacob S.C. 2012. Determination of inorganic trace elements in edible marine fish from Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Food Control. Vol. 23. Iss. 2 p. 535–541.

  • Nadem S., El-Baghdadi M., Rais J., Barakat A. 2015. Evaluation of heavy metal contamination of sediments of the estuary of the Bouregreg (Atlantic Coast, Morocco). Journal of Materials and Environmental Science. Vol. 6. Iss. 11 p. 3338–3345.

  • Nobi E.P., Dilipan E., Thangaradjou T., Sivakumar K., Kannan L. 2010. Geochemical and geostatistical assessment of heavy metal in the sediments of different coastal ecosystems of Andaman Islands, India. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Vol. 87 p. 253–264.

  • Pekey H. 2006. The distribution and sources of heavy metals in Izmir Bay surface sediments affected by a polluted stream. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Vol. 52 p. 1197–1208.

  • PNUE 1985. Rapport de la Quatrième réunion ordinaire des Parties contractantes à la convention pour la protection de la mer Méditerranée contre la pollution et aux protocoles y relatifs [Report of the Fourth Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution and Related Protocols]. 9–13.09.1985 Gênes. Document UNEP/IG.56/5. Programme des Nations Unies pour l’environnement. Athènes p. 689–718.

  • Rahman M.S., Molla A.H., Saha N., Rahman A. 2012. Study on heavy metals levels and its risk assessment in some edible fishes from Bangshi River, Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Food Chemistry. Vol. 134 p. 1847–1854.

  • Ruqia N., Muslim M., Muhammad M., Hameed U.R., Naveed U.R. 2015. Accumulation of heavy metals (Ni, Cu, Cd, Cr, Pb, Zn, Fe) in the soil, water and plants and analysis of physicochemical parameters of soil and water collected from Tanda Dam Kohat. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research. Vol. 7 p. 89–97.

  • Saher N.U., Siddiqui A.S. 2016. Comparison of heavy metal contamination during the last decade along the coastal sediment of Pakistan: multiple pollution indices approach. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Vol. 105. Iss. 1 p. 403–410.

  • Salomons W., Förstner U. 1984. Sediments and the transport of metals. In: Metals in the hydrocycle. Springer p. 63–98.

  • SEPA 2005. The limit of pollutant in food. State Environmental Protection Administration. China. GB 2762. Vol. 49. Iss. 1 p. 174–196.

  • Stancheva M., Makedonski L., Petrova E. 2013. Determination of heavy metals (Pb, Cd, As and Hg) in black sea gray mullet (Mugil cephalus). Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science. Vol. 19. Iss. 1 p. 30–34.

  • Tessier E. 2012. Diagnosis of sediment contamination by metals in the Toulon harbour and mechanisms controlling their mobility. PhD Thesis. Toulon. Toulon University pp. 292.

  • Tomlinson D.C., Wilson J.G., Harris C.R., Jeffrey D.W. 1980. Problems in the assessment of heavy metals in es-tuaries and the formation pollution index. Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen. Vol. 33 p. 566–575.

  • Traore A., Soro G., Ernest Ahoussi K., Siaka B., Soro N., Biemi J. 2014. Niveau de contamination en métaux lourds des sédiments d’une lagune tropicale : la lagune Aghien (Sud-Est de la Côte d’Ivoire) [Level of heavy metals contamination of tropical lagoon sediments: Aghien Lagoon (South-East of Côte d’Ivoire)]. Afrique Science. Vol. 10. Iss. 3 p. 73–88.

  • UNEP 1982. Determination of total Cd, Zn, Pb and Cu in selected marine organism by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Reference Methods for Marine Pollution Studies. No. 16 pp. 111.

  • UNEP 1984. Determination of total cadmium, zinc, lead and copper in selected marine organisms by flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Reference Methods for Marine Pollution Studies. United Nations Environment Programme. No. 44. Rev. 1 p. 7–34.

  • USEPA 2002. Supplemental guidance for developing soil screening levels for superfund sites. Washington DC, USA. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response OSWER 9355. 4-24 pp. 187.

  • Wedepohl K.H. 1995. The composition of the continental crust. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Vol. 59 p. 1217–1232.

  • WHO 2004. Guidelines for drinking-water quality. 3rd ed. Geneva. World Health Organization.Vol. 1 pp. 515.

  • Yakinov M.M., Tummis K.N., Golyshin P.N. 2007. Obligate oil-degrading marine bacteria. Current Opinion Biotechnology. Vol. 18. Iss. 3 p. 257–266.

  • Yilmaz F. 2009. The comparison of heavy metal concentrations (Cd, Cu, Mn, Pb, and Zn) in tissues of three economically important fish (Anguilla anguilla, Mugil cephalus and Oreochromisni loticus) inhabiting Köcegiz Lake-Mugla (Turkey). Turkish Journal of Science Technology. Vol. 4 p. 7–15.

  • Yujun Y., Zhifeng Y., Shanghong Z. 2011. Ecological risk assessment of heavy metals in sediment and human health risk assessment of heavy metals in fishes in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River basin. Environmental Pollution. Vol. 159 p. 2575–2585.

  • Zhang J., Gao X. 2015. Heavy metals in surface sediments of the intertidal Laizhou Bay, Bohai Sea, China: Distributions, sources and contamination assessment. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Vol. 98. Iss. 1–2 p. 320–327.


Journal + Issues