Content and Chemical Form of Mercury and Selenium in Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout
By Chris J. Cappon
Journal of Great Lakes Research, Volume 10, Issue 4, 1984, Pages 429-434, ISSN 0380-1330, DOI: 10.1016/S0380-1330(84)71859-4.
The content and chemical form of mercury and selenium were determined in the edible tissue of salmon (coho, chinook) and trout (lake, brown) taken offshore from Lake Ontario near Rochester, New York. For all fish species, total mercury content ranged from 0.3 to 0.8 [mu]g/g (fresh-weight), which is similar to concentrations commonly found in canned tuna. Most of the total mercury (63 to 79 percent) was present as methylmercury, the remainder being divalent inorganic mercury. For all species, 6 to 45 percent of the total selenium content was present as selenate (SeVI), the remainder being selenite (SeIV) and selenide (Se-11). On a molar basis, total selenium content usually exceeded that of total mercury. Samples of smoked and unsmoked brown trout fillets were also examined. Based on the results of this study there is no immediate human health hazard from mercury and selenium. However, there is a need to report specific chemical forms of these metals in Lake Ontario salmonid fishes so that elevated concentrations can be better evaluated.
Keywords: Trace metals; methylmercury; toxic substances; monitoring