Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 11206–11218 | Cite as

High contribution of the particulate uptake pathway to metal bioaccumulation in the tropical marine clam Gafrarium pectinatum

  • Laetitia Hédouin
  • Marc Metian
  • Jean-Louis Teyssié
  • Renaud Fichez
  • Michel Warnau
Aquatic organisms and biological responses to assess water contamination and ecotoxicity


The clam Gafrarium pectinatum was investigated to assess its usefulness as a bioindicator species of metal mining contamination in the New Caledonia lagoon. The uptake and depuration kinetics of Ag, Cd, Co, Cr, and Zn were determined following exposures via seawater, sediment, and food using highly sensitive radiotracer techniques (110mAg, 109Cd, 51Cr, 57Co, and 65Zn). When the clams were exposed to dissolved metals, Co, Zn, and Ag were readily incorporated in their tissues (concentration factors (CF) ranging from 181 to 4982 after 28 days of exposure) and all metals were strongly retained (biological half-lives always >2 months). The estimated transfer factor (TF) in clam tissues after a 35-day sediment exposure was 1 to 4 orders of magnitude lower than the estimated CF, indicating a lower bioavailability of sediment-bound metals than dissolved ones. Once incorporated, metals taken up from sediment and seawater were retained longer than metals ingested with food, indicating that the uptake pathway influences the storage processes of metals in clam tissues. Compilation of our data into a global bioaccumulation model indicated that, except for Ag that essentially originated from food (92%), sediment was the main source of metal bioaccumulation in the clam (more than 80%). These results highlight that bioaccumulation processes strongly depend from one metal to the other. The overall efficient bioaccumulation and retention capacities of the clam G. pectinatum confirm its usefulness as a bioindicator species that can provide time-integrated information about ambient contamination levels in the tropical marine coastal environment.


Bioaccumulation Radiotracers Seafood Mining activities Tropical 



This work was supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The support of French Ecosphère Continentale et Côtière—Programme National Environnement Côtier (EC2CO-PNEC) and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) is also acknowledged. The IAEA is grateful for the support provided to its Environment Laboratories by the Government of the Principality of Monaco. LH was beneficiary of a PhD grant (CIFRE, France) supported by the Goro Nickel Company, New Caledonia. MW is an Honorary Senior Research Associate of the National Fund for Scientific Research (NFSR, Belgium).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laetitia Hédouin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Marc Metian
    • 1
  • Jean-Louis Teyssié
    • 1
  • Renaud Fichez
    • 3
  • Michel Warnau
    • 1
  1. 1.International Atomic Energy Agency—Environment Laboratories (IAEA-EL)MonacoPrincipality of Monaco
  2. 2.Littoral Environnement et Sociétés (LIENSs), UMR 6250 CNRSUniversité La RochelleLa Rochelle Cedex 01France
  3. 3.Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO)Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS/INSU, Université de Toulon, IRDMarseilleFrance
  4. 4.USR378 EPHE CNRS UPVD—CRIOBE, Laboratoire d’Excellence CORAILPapetoaiFrench Polynesia
  5. 5.PSL Research University: EPHE-UPVD-CNRS, USR 3278 CRIOBE, Laboratoire d’Excellence «CORAIL»PSL Research UniversityPapetoaiFrench Polynesia

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