MEPS 175:177-189 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/meps175177

Uptake and loss kinetics of Cd, Cr and Zn in the bivalves Potamocorbula amurensis and Macoma balthica: effects of size and salinity

Byeong-Gweon Lee*, William G. Wallace, Samuel N. Luoma

U.S. Geological Survey, Mail Stop 465, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA

ABSTRACT: Radiotracer studies were employed to quantitatively compare the biokinetics of uptake from the dissolved phase (influx rates) and loss (efflux) between 2 bivalves, Potamocorbula amurensis and Macoma balthica, and among the metals Cd, Cr and Zn. Effects of salinity on influx rate were evaluated in these 2 highly euryhaline species as were effects of animal size on uptake and loss. Metal speciation and biological attributes interacted to differentiate bioaccumulation processes among metals and between species. Influx rates of the 3 metals (µg g-1 [dry wt] d-1) increased linearly with dissolved metal concentrations. Influx rates of Zn in both clams were 3 to 4x those for Cd and 15x those for Cr. However, influx on the basis of free ion activities would be faster for Cd than for Zn. Relative influx rates among the metals were similar in the 2 bivalves. But, absolute influx rates of all 3 metals were 4 to 5x greater in P. amurensis than in M. balthica, probably because of differences in biological attributes (i.e. clearance rate or gill surface area). As salinity was reduced from 30 to 5 psu, the influx rate of Cd for P. amurensis increased 4-fold and that for M. balthica increased 6-fold, consistent with expected changes in speciation. However the influx rates of Cr in both clams also increased 2.4-fold over the same range, indicating a biological contribution to the salinity effect. Influx rates of Zn were not significantly affected by salinity. Weight specific metal influx rates (µg g-1 [dry wt] d-1) were negatively correlated with the tissue dry weight of the clams, but most rate constants determining physiological turnover of assimilated metals were not affected by clam size. The exception was the rate constant for Cd loss, which resulted in faster turnover in large M. balthica than in smaller clams. The rate constant of loss for P. amurensis increased in the order of Cd (0.011 d-1) < Zn (0.027 d-1) < Cr (0.048 d-1). This was different from the hierarchy of rate constants for M. balthica: Zn (0.012 d-1) < Cd (0.018 d-1) < Cr (0.024 d-1).

KEY WORDS: Uptake · Efflux · Cadmium · Chromium · Zinc · Bivalve · Potamocorbula amurensis · Macoma balthica · Size · Salinity

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