Musk Levels in Fish

The occurrence and levels of individual musk compounds in various fish species is in detail discussed in other chapters of this monograph and will be only briefly summarized here. An excellent survey on the occurrence of polycyclic and other musk compounds in the fish and environment was recently presented by Rimkus [3].

Yamagushi et al. [48] were the first to report 1981 the presence of synthetic musks in fish (Carassius auratus longsdorfii) from Tama river in Japan. The concentrations of MX and MK detected in the study (0.20 mg and 0.05 mg kg-1 ww, respectively) were higher than those of dieldrin and p,p'-DDE measured in the same samples.

In the 1990s extensive studies of synthetic musks in wild fish from the European rivers, aquaculture produced fish as well as in sea fish were conducted in Germany (for references see, e.g. [1,3,49-51]. Later on investigations concerning musk levels in fish were also presented from Italy [52], Czech republic [53] and Sweden [54]. A comparison of the nitro and polycyclic musk levels in Canadian and European fish and marine foods were presented by Gatermann et al. [55].

There are great differences in the reported musk concentrations probably reflecting the inter-species differences as well as geographical variations in the environmental contamination.

Marine fish contains low levels of musk compounds as compared to the river and lake fish species.

Samples collected from the European aquatic systems generally show higher levels of the polycyclic musks HHCB and AHTN as compared to nitro musks MX and MK. This differs from the findings in the fish and marine samples from Canada with higher levels of nitro musks, probably reflecting the domination of this class of musk compounds on the North American market [55].

As can be expected the highest concentrations of the musk compounds and/or its metabolites were reported in fish from sewage ponds or the vicinity of the sewage plants [1,3,14,54,56]. In comparison relatively low levels of musks were found in the limited number of fish samples studied in Sweden, with the highest levels (outside sewage plants) measured for AHTN (1.0-7.4 |g kg1 ww) and HHCB (1.9-11.7 |g kg-1 ww) in the perch liver and arctic char (Riddarfjarden, Stockholm, lake Vattern) [54,57]. It is also of interest that low but clearly detectable levels of HHCB and AHTN (2.9 and 1.0 |g kg-1 ww respectively) were recently measured in perch from some Swedish lakes without a known industrial pollution [57].

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