Levels of heavy metals, total petroleum hydrocarbons, and microbial load in commercially valuable fish from the marine area of Tripoli, Lebanon.


The present study aimed at evaluating the levels of microbiological contamination, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs), and heavy metals (As, Cd, Hg, and Pb) in the edible tissues of commonly consumed fish (8 species) collected from the marine area of Tripoli, Northern Lebanon. Total coliform levels in all sampled fish, and Escherichia coli levels in Liza ramada only, exceeded the permissible limits set by FAO/WHO 2002. Staphylococcus aureus counts were within the recommended thresholds, while sulfate-reducing bacteria levels were the highest in fish of the genus Liza. Salmonella species and Listeria monocytogenes were not detected in all fish analyzed. Analysis of heavy metals levels showed that arsenic exhibited the highest levels among the assessed metals in all genera. Levels of As in Epinephelus, Diplodus, Oblada, and Liza were above the acceptable limits, while Cd levels were below the permissible limits set by the European Commission. Significant negative correlation was found between levels of As and Hg in muscle tissues and fish size (length). Levels of TPHs were the highest in fish of the genus Epinephelus. Significant difference in TPHs contamination was found within three fish genera, with Epinephelus being the most contaminated.

Journal/Conference Information

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (2020) 192: 705,DOI: 10.1007/s10661-020-08672-w, ISSN: 1573-2959 , Volume: 192, Issue: 705, Pages Range: 705-718,