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Acta Biológica Colombiana

Print version ISSN 0120-548X


MANCERA-RODRIGUEZ, NÉSTOR JAVIER  and  ALVAREZ-LEON, RICARDO. Current State of Knowledge of the Concentration of Mercury and Other Heavy Metals in Fresh Water Fish in Colombia. Acta biol.Colomb. [online]. 2006, vol.11, n.1, pp.3-23. ISSN 0120-548X.

One of the most important environmental problems in the country refers to the indiscriminate use of chemical precursors in illicit activities, the use of heavy metals as mercury in mining activities, the spill of served waters and another type of compound related with the industrial activities of raw and the inadequate agricultural practices. This has led to chemical contamination especially by heavy metals, considered one of the most dangerous for the aquatic ecosystems and the present species in them. Fish have the capacity to store these compounds in their organism in a concentration higher than that in the surrounding environment (water), therefore, their concentration are important indicators of the contamination level, but also this implies that their consumption can become a serious health problem for the populations that feeds from them. The concentration of heavy metals in fish of fresh water is better known in the basin of the Magdalena river, especially in the region of the Mojana and in the marshes of the south of the Department of Bolivar where the levels of contamination by mercury and other metals has been studied due to the development of multiple industrial activities, including gold mining and petrochemical industries. However, little is known in the country about the problem generated by the disposal heavy metals in rivers and lakes and their impact on the fish resource, deterioration of ecosystems and human health. Based in the current norms bio-assays have been used to check the effects of the aquatic contamination on fresh waters fish and the evaluation of at least three parameters (heavy metals, temperature, effluents) in eight species of fresh waters fish: Carassius auratus, Oreochromis spp., Piractus brachypomus, Prochilodus magdalenae, Astyanax fasciatus, Colossoma bidens, Gambusia affinis and Grundulus bogotensis.

Keywords : heavy metals; bioaccumulation; contamination; bioassays; fresh waters; Colombia.

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