Environmental Pollution, Vol. 114 (2) (2001) pp. 285-297
© 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S0269-7491(00)00197-4

Trace metal accumulation and fish pathologies in areas affected by mining and metallurgical enterprises in the Kola Region, Russia

T.I. Moiseenko a * tatyana@inep.ksc.ru and L.P. Kudryavtseva b
a Institute of Water Research  [--] Russian Academy of Sciences, Gubkina 3, Moscow, Russia
b Institute of the North Industrial Ecology Problems, Kola Science Centre, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia

Received 1 November 1999; accepted 31 August 2000

Heavy metal concentrations in lakes of the Kola region, Russia, correspond with increased tissue metal levels in fish and with certain pathological conditions.


Throughout the Kola region of Russia there has been a substantial increase of metal concentrations in water, which are related to local discharges from metallurgical and mining industry, transboundary transmissions as well as indirect leaching of elements by acid precipitation. This study presents data on the levels of Ni, Cu, Sr, Al, Zn, Co, Mn, Pb, Cd, Hg in the organs and tissues of fish, and evaluates relationships with water chemistry. Special attention is paid to fish pathologies, whose aetiology is related to the accumulation of metals and the associated changes of the elementary ratios within the organism. Ecotoxicological assessment of the copper-nickel, strontium and acidification regimes also is considered in this article. In general we observed a large number of lakes that are heavily contaminated by Ni and Cu. Fish in these lakes contain high concentrations of Ni and Cu and display frequent pathologies, mostly associated with the kidneys. In lakes contaminated with Sr, there also are high Sr levels in fish and pathologies associated with skeletal tissues. Exposure to acidified water appears to increase the transport of metals (including Al, Ni and Cu) into fish and hence the toxic effects.

Keywords: Metal pollution; Freshwater lakes; Nickel; Copper; Fish pathologies; Russia

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