Assessing the Potential Health Risk from Mercury Through Consumption of the Most Popular and Preferable Fish Species, Rutilus frisii kutum, on the Northern Coast of Iran


Due to the importance of Caspian kutum (Rutilus frisii kutum) in the nutrition and health of consumers, a study was conducted to evaluate the concentration of mercury and its associated health risk for this species, its predators, and the people. Samples were collected from the fish at the four best-selling stations, Bandar Torkaman, Bander Anzali, Fereydunkenar, and Chalos, with mean mercury concentrations in the samples from the stations being 49.4, 132.6, 103.6, and 107.6 μg/g respectively. Mercury in the muscle tissue of the collected samples increased from east to west in the southern Caspian Basin. The mercury concentrations at all stations were below the permissible international levels for this heavy metal, suggesting no or low potential health risk. However, due to the toxicity and other harmful properties of mercury, it is necessary to monitor the values of this element as well as other pollutants in fish species to assess the health risk.

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The author is grateful to Somayeh Azimi and Mina Sarvari Korojdehi for their field and laboratory assistance. Thanks are extended to Mr Chris Banks, who improved the draft and added valuable comments to the manuscript.


This work was part of a research project supported by Iran National Science Foundation-Science deputy of presidency through grant No. 96008256.

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Correspondence to Hassan Malvandi.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Approval from the institutional animal care committee was not required because samples of fish caught in local markets and fishing ports were used for this study. In other words, the specimens of the animals studied were not merely captured for the purpose of this study, but were captured by fishermen for human consumption and then the authors purchased them for this study.

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Malvandi, H. Assessing the Potential Health Risk from Mercury Through Consumption of the Most Popular and Preferable Fish Species, Rutilus frisii kutum, on the Northern Coast of Iran. Biol Trace Elem Res (2020).

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  • Fish
  • Aquatic ecosystem
  • Health index
  • Heavy metals
  • Caspian Sea