Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 5189–5201 | Cite as

Assessment of some heavy metal accumulation and nutritional quality of shellfish with reference to human health and cancer risk assessment: a seafood safety approach

  • Noor Us SaherEmail author
  • Nayab Kanwal
Research Article


This study was conducted to assess the proximate analysis (protein, carbohydrate, lipid, and moisture content) and concentration levels of metals (Zn, Cu, Cd, Pb, and Cr) in the muscles of selected shellfish (Portunus reticulatus, P. segnis, P. sanguinolentus, Scylla olivaceae, Penaeus monodon, and P. indicus) species. The concentration of metals showed significant difference (p > 0.05) among species. The detected concentrations of the analyzed heavy metals were below the daily intake and legal limits set by national and international standards. The THQs and CR index were calculated to evaluate the risk estimation of the metal contamination associated with the human health. The THQ values of all metals were below 1 in all species, indicated that there is no risk of adverse health effect, but the risk of elevated intakes of heavy metals adversely affecting food safety for the studied species. The CR index indicated that Cd and Pb caused the greatest cancer risk. The correlation and multivariate (principle component analysis) among metal concentration and nutritional quality were also evaluated. The carbohydrate and moisture showed the positive correlation (p > 0.05) with metals. The biochemical results of the present work clearly indicate that there was a significant difference in the muscles of shellfish. It was concluded that more effective controls should be focused on Cd and Pb to reduce pollution for quality and seafood safety concern.


Biochemical composition Risk assessment Food safety Metals toxicity Multivariate statistics Nutritional quality Shellfish 



We would like to thank Heather Rich, teaching assistant, School of life Sciences, Arizona State University, USA, for the language improvement of manuscript. This research is financially supported by HEC (Higher Education Commission) Pakistan through Access to Scientific Instrument program. We are also thankful to Centralized Science Laboratories, University of Karachi, for service provider.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre of Excellence in Marine BiologyUniversity of KarachiKarachiPakistan

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