Uptake and bioaccumulation of platinum group metals (Pd, Pt, Rh) from automobile catalyst converter materials by the Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha).
The uptake and bioaccumulation of the platinum group metals (PGM) platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), and rhodium (Rh) by the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) were investigated in exposure studies using ground material from unused automobile catalytic converters as metal source. The mussels were exposed to the metals in tap water or humic water. In the soft tissue samples of exposed mussels mean Pt levels ranged in dependence on the type of tank water and the exposure period (6, 9, or 18 weeks) between 780 and 4300 ng/g, the Pd levels ranged between 720 and 6300 ng/g, and the Rh levels ranged between 270 and 1900 ng/g. In contrast, the control mussels had metal concentrations of <20 ng/g (Pt), <50 ng/g (Pd), and <40 ng/g (Rh). Considerably higher PGM levels were found in the exposed mussels of the humic water group than in those of the tap water group. Although there is a cumulative increase of the PGM concentrations in the environment since the introduction of the automobile catalyst more than 20 years ago, only little information about the PGM contamination in the biosphere, especially the fauna, is available. Due to the high capacity of D. polymorpha to accumulate PGM, this bivalve could be used as a potential sentinel for monitoring the noble metals in aquatic ecosystems.
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