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Metal And Transuranic Records In Mussel Shells, Byssal Threads And Tissues

M. Koide, D. S. Lee, E. Goldberg
Published 1982 · Geology

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Abstract Bivalve shells offer several advantages over tissues for the monitoring of heavy metal pollutants in the marine environment. They are easier to handle and to store. The problem of whether to depurate the animals before analyses is avoided. The shells appear to be more sensitive to environmental heavy metals levels over the long term than do the soft parts. Of the substances examined (Cd, Cu, Zn, Pb, Ag, Ni, 238Pu and 239 + 240Pu) only Pb and Pu displayed a strong covariance between soft tissue and shell concentrations. There were strong correlations between metals in the shell but not in the soft tissues in general. The byssal threads, because of their enrichment of transuranic elements and of their ease in handling, may be useful in monitoring these metals. A very weak discharge of 238Pu to marine waters adjacent to a nuclear reactor was detected in the byssal threads of mussels.
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