Use of fish otoliths as a temporal biomarker of field uranium exposure

Type Article
Date 2019-11
Language English
Author(s) Mounicou S.1, Frelon S.2, Le Guernic A.2, Eb-Levadoux Y.2, Camilleri V.2, Fevrier L.3, Pierrisnard S.3, Carasco L.3, Gilbin R.2, Mahé KeligORCID4, Tabouret Helene5, Bareille G.5, Simon O.2
Affiliation(s) 1 : CNRS/Univ Pau & Pays Adour/E2S UPPA, Institut des Sciences Analytiques et de Physico-chimie pour l'environnement et les Matériaux, UMR5254, 64000 Pau, France
2 : Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), PSE-ENV/SRTE/LECO, Cadarache, Saint Paul-lez-Durance 13115, France
3 : Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), PSE-ENV/SRTE/LR2T, Cadarache, Saint Paul-lez-Durance 13115, France
4 : IFREMER, Centre Manche Mer du Nord, Laboratoire ressources halieutiques, BP 699, 62321 Boulogne-sur-mer, France
Source Science Of The Total Environment (0048-9697) (Elsevier BV), 2019-11 , Vol. 690 , P. 511-521
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.534
WOS© Times Cited 12
Keyword(s) Roach, Accumulation, Laser ablation ICP-MS

This study aimed to determine uranium (U) pollution over time using otoliths as a marker of fish U contamination. Experiments were performed in field contamination (~20 μg L−1: encaged fish: 15d, 50d and collected wild fish) and in laboratory exposure conditions (20 and 250 μg L−1, 20d). We reported the U seasonal concentrations in field waterborne exposed roach fish (Rutilus rutilus), in organs and otoliths. Otoliths were analyzed by ICPMS and LA-ICP SF MS of the entire growth zone.

Concentrations were measured on transects from nucleus to the edge of otoliths to characterize environmental variations of metal accumulation. Results showed a spatial and temporal variation of U contamination in water (from 51 to 9.4 μg L−1 at the surface of the water column), a high and seasonal accumulation in fish organs, mainly the digestive tract (from 1000 to 30,000 ng g−1, fw), the gills (from 1600 to 3200 ng g−1, fw) and the muscle (from 144 to 1054 ng g−1, fw). U was detected throughout the otolith and accumulation varied over the season from 70 to 350 ng g−1, close to the values measured (310 ng g−1) after high exposure levels in laboratory conditions. U in otoliths of encaged fish showed rapid and high U accumulation from 20 to 150 ng g−1. The U accumulation signal was mainly detected on the edge of the otolith, showing two U accumulation peaks, probably correlated to fish age, i.e. 2 years old. Surprisingly, elemental U and Zn signatures followed the same pattern therefore using the same uptake pathways. Laboratory, caging and field experiments indicated that otoliths were able to quickly accumulate U on the surface even for low levels and to store high levels of U. This study is an encouraging first step in using otoliths as a marker of U exposure.

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Mounicou S., Frelon S., Le Guernic A., Eb-Levadoux Y., Camilleri V., Fevrier L., Pierrisnard S., Carasco L., Gilbin R., Mahé Kelig, Tabouret Helene, Bareille G., Simon O. (2019). Use of fish otoliths as a temporal biomarker of field uranium exposure. Science Of The Total Environment, 690, 511-521. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :