Accumulation of nutrients and potentially toxic elements in plants and fishes in restored mangrove ecosystems in South China

Puhui Zhao, Edmond Sanganyado, Tieyu Wang, Zewei Sun, Ziyang Jiang, Mingrui Zeng, Zhangxun Huang, Yifan Li, Ping Li, Ran Bi*, Wenhua Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mangroves are highly dynamic ecosystems that offer important services such as maintaining biodiversity, filtering pollutants, and providing habitats for fishes. We investigated the uptake and accumulation of nutrients and potentially toxic elements in mangrove plants and fish to better understand the role of mangrove restoration in maintaining mangrove biota quality. In mangrove plants, the average bioconcentration factors of nutrients and potentially toxic elements were in the order P > Pb > Mn > Mg > Se > Zn > Hg > Cu > Cd > As > Co > Cr > Ni > Fe > V > Sb, where only P (all plant species) and Pb (Sonneratia apetala Buchanan-Hamilton) had a BCF > 1.0 in mangrove plants. In general, Sonneratia spp. had better performances than Kandelia candel (Linn.) Druce, Aegiceras corniculatum (Linn.) Blanco and Acanthus ilicifolius L. Sp. in terms of nutrient uptake and toxic metal(loid)s accumulation, and the best uptake capacity was found in S. apetala. Fast growth and easy adaptation make S. apetala suitable for a restored mangrove ecosystem, but continual management is needed to prevent its suppression of mangrove species diversity. The concentration of As, Cd, Hg, Cu, Cr and Pb in the mangrove sediment were 30–220% higher than the Chinese National Standard of Marine Sediment Quality Class I limits, suggesting that the sediments were unsuitable for aquaculture and nature reserves. Although a higher toxic metal(loid)s concentration in the sediment was found, the target hazard quotient (THQ) of this toxic metal(loid)s in 5 mangrove habitat fishes was <1.0, except THQ of Pb in Boleophthalmus pectinirostris Linnaeus was 1.17, and THQ of Cr in Bostrychus sinensis Lacépède was 1.12. The low THQ (less than 1.0) of mangrove habitat fishes suggested that the restored mangrove system could alleviate the bioaccumulation of toxic metal(loid)s in mangrove fish.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155964
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue numberPart 1
Early online date16 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


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