Accumulation of the precious metals platinum, palladium and rhodium from automobile catalytic converters in Paratenuisentis ambiguus as compared with its fish host, Anguilla anguilla.
The platinum group metals (PGM) Pt, Pd and Rh are emitted into the environment mainly by catalytic exhaust gas converters of cars. As PGM accumulate in sediments of aquatic ecosystems, the study was focused on the uptake of the noble metals by European eels, Anguilla anguilla infected with the acanthocephalan Paratenuisentis ambiguus. Eels were exposed to ground catalytic converter material for six weeks. After exposure Pt and Pd were detected in the liver and kidney of the eels and in the parasites. Palladium was also found in fish muscle and intestine. No Rh uptake by the eel tissues and the parasites occurred. Paratenuisentis ambiguus contained the highest levels of both metals with 40 times higher Pt concentrations and four times higher Pd concentrations than the liver of its host. Due to its accumulation capacity for PGM, P. ambiguus can be applied as a sensitive accumulation indicator in field studies to assess the degree of environmental PGM contamination in aquatic ecosystems.
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