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Metallothionein as indicator of trace metals exposure in two fish species from the southern Moroccan Atlantic

Author Affiliations

  • 1Faculté des Sciences Ben M’Sik, Avenue Cdt Driss El Harti. B.P 7955, Casablanca, Maroc and Institut National de Recherche Halieutique, Route Sidi Abderrahmane, Casablanca, Maroc
  • 2Institut National de Recherche Halieutique, Route Sidi Abderrahmane, Casablanca, Maroc
  • 3Institut National de Recherche Halieutique, Route Sidi Abderrahmane, Casablanca, Maroc
  • 4Institut National de Recherche Halieutique, Route Sidi Abderrahmane, Casablanca, Maroc
  • 5Faculté des Sciences Ain Chock, Km 8 Route d\'El Jadida, B.P 5366, Casablanca, Maroc
  • 6Faculté des Sciences Ben M’Sik, Avenue Cdt Driss El Harti. B.P 7955, Casablanca, Maroc

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 6, Issue (8), Pages 7-23, August,22 (2017)


Two fish species John Dory (Zeus faber) and Common Hake (Merluccius merluccius) of high commercial value were collected from the southern Moroccan Atlantic coast by bottom trawling at depths between 50 and 200m. A mesological analysis was carried out to determine the environmental conditions of these two species. These organisms were used as bioindicators to assess the level and effect of trace metals (Cr, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb) contamination in the marine environment. To do it, two complementary analytical methods were used; the study of biological responses (metallothionein synthesis, biomarker of exposure to metals trace in the liver and muscle fish) combined with chemical analysis of the same matrices to determine the level of contamination. A significant difference (P <0.05) was observed between the species but also between the accumulation organs. The content of metallothioneins and trace metals is particularly important in the liver in comparison with the muscle for the two species sampled. The study showed that the levels of trace metals in the muscle of these fish do not exceed the maximum limits recommended by the European Community. It has also helped to provide information on the current state of accumulated trace metal levels and metallothionein levels in different accumulation organs, thus supporting the use of these proteins as a biomarker of metals exposure.


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