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Issue 3, 1999
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Establishment of a sampling strategy for the use of blue mussels as an indicator of organotin contamination in the coastal environment

Abstract

The application of the Mussel Watch concept to the assessment of chemical contamination in the coastal environment is still premature, since the relationship between the physiological and ecological aspects of blue mussels and the accumulation of contaminants in their soft tissues remains unclear. We cannot yet directly estimate with known confidence the degree of chemical contamination from the levels of contaminants in the soft tissues of mussels. An understanding of the source and range of variability in the tissue concentrations of contaminants is essential, and the establishment of a biomonitoring sampling strategy to minimize the effect of identified sources of variability is required. The present study was conducted to clarify the characteristics of organotin accumulation in blue mussels under various conditions in Tokyo Bay, and to establish an optimized sampling strategy of mussels as exposure indicators of organotin contamination in Japan. It was clear that the sample number, individual size, spawning activity and vertical habitat were factors causing a variation of tissue concentration. Based on a quantitative estimation of the variability of organotin concentration in mussel tissues under various physiological and natural conditions, we suggest that a composite sample of 30 mussels (3-5 cm in shell length), collected from the infralittoral zone prior to their spawning season, is essential to reduce the variability between individuals and to obtain reproducible analytical values at a sampling site. For monitoring sites where natural blue mussels cannot be collected, an alternative method of transplanting blue mussels from a relatively clean area would be required.

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Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/A809669D
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 1999,1, 243-250
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    Establishment of a sampling strategy for the use of blue mussels as an indicator of organotin contamination in the coastal environment

    K. Shindo and A. Otsuki, J. Environ. Monit., 1999, 1, 243
    DOI: 10.1039/A809669D

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