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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 401:147-160 (2010)  -  DOI:

Cadmium accumulation and loss in the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas along the west coast of the USA

Tania Y.-T. Ng1,4, Chia-Ying Chuang1,5, Ian Stupakoff2, Aimee E. Christy3, Daniel P. Cheney3, Wen-Xiong Wang1,*

1Department of Biology, The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST), Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong
2Integral Consulting Inc., 1205 West Bay Dr., Olympia, Washington 98502, USA
3Pacific Shellfish Institute, 120 State Ave. NE #142, Olympia, Washington 98501, USA
4Present address: Department of Biology, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1, Canada
5Present address: Department of Marine Sciences, Texas A&M University, 5007 Avenue U, Galveston, Texas 77551, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Oysters can accumulate cadmium (Cd) in very high concentrations in their tissues and there is now increasing concern for the seafood safety of farmed oysters worldwide. Bioaccumulation and biokinetics of Cd (dietary assimilation, uptake from the dissolved phase, and efflux) were measured in different populations of Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas collected along the west coast of the USA in 2 different seasons. Triploid juvenile oysters were first transplanted to 5 Washington sites and 1 Oregon site for 3 mo, then transported back to the laboratory for tissue Cd measurements and biokinetic experiments. A second group of seed oysters was collected from California and Washington for additional analysis. Oysters from all sites had Cd concentrations lower than the food standard limit and there was spatial difference in tissue Cd concentrations. A significant fraction of Cd was associated with metallothionein-like proteins, implying that the oysters can detoxify Cd by induction of metallothionein. The difference in Cd dietary assimilation (using diatoms as a food source) and efflux in oysters transplanted to different locations was not significant. The uptake rate constants for Cd from the dissolved phase, however, differed markedly among the transplanted populations, and appeared to be affected by the oysters’ clearance rate, depending on the population. This uptake rate was also negatively affected by the size of oysters. Dietary assimilation of Cd was comparable at diatom food concentrations below 2 to 5 mg l–1, and was lower with ingested sediments than with diatoms. Measurements of Cd kinetics in different populations of Pacific oysters under a variety of environmental conditions provide an insight into the Cd accumulation in this commercially important species.

KEY WORDS: Pacific oysters · Cadmium · Biokinetics · Accumulation · Subcellular distribution · Metallothionein · Environmental factors · Biological factors

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Cite this article as: Ng TYT, Chuang CY, Stupakoff I, Christy AE, Cheney DP, Wang WX (2010) Cadmium accumulation and loss in the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas along the west coast of the USA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 401:147-160.

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