AB 6:91-98 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00172

Bioaccumulation of inorganic Hg by the juvenile cuttlefish Sepia officinalis exposed to 203Hg radiolabelled seawater and food

T. Lacoue-Labarthe1,2, M. Warnau1,2, F. Oberhänsli2, J.-L. Teyssié2, P. Bustamante1,*

1Littoral Environnement et Sociétés (LIENSs), UMR 6250, CNRS-Université de La Rochelle, 2 rue Olympe de Gouges,
17042 La Rochelle Cedex 01, France
2International Atomic Energy Agency, Marine Environment Laboratories, 4 Quai Antoine Ier, 98000 Principality of Monaco
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Uptake and depuration kinetics of inorganic mercury (Hg) were investigated in the juvenile common cuttlefish Sepia officinalis following exposures via seawater and food using a sensitive radiotracer technique (203Hg). Cuttlefish readily concentrated 203Hg when exposed via seawater, with whole body concentration factors >260 after only 10 d of exposure. The total Hg accumulated from seawater was depurated relatively fast with a radiotracer biological half-life (Tb1/2 of 17 d. During both exposure and depuration periods, accumulated Hg was mainly (>70%) associated with the muscular parts of the cuttlefish. However, the proportion of the whole-body Hg content associated with the digestive gland increased during exposure and depuration phases, suggesting that the metal was transferred from the muscles towards this organ for detoxification. When fed with radiolabelled food, cuttlefish displayed high assimilation efficiency (>90%) and the metal was found to be mainly located in the digestive gland (60% of the whole Hg content). Nevertheless, high depuration rates resulted in short Tb1/2 (i.e. 4 d), suggesting that this organ has a major role in Hg detoxification and depuration. Whatever the exposure pathway, a low proportion of Hg (<2%) was found in the cuttlebone. Assessment of the relative contribution of the dietary and dissolved exposure pathways to inorganic Hg bioaccumulation in juvenile cuttlefish revealed that Hg was mainly accumulated from food, which contributed 77 ± 16% of the global metal bioaccumulation.


KEY WORDS: Mercury · Bioaccumulation · Kinetics · Body distribution · Cephalopod · Relative contribution


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Cite this article as: Lacoue-Labarthe T, Warnau M, Oberhänsli F, Teyssié JL, Bustamante P (2009) Bioaccumulation of inorganic Hg by the juvenile cuttlefish Sepia officinalis exposed to 203Hg radiolabelled seawater and food. Aquat Biol 6:91-98. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00172

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