First report on fish cysteine as a biomarker of contamination in the River Chenab, Pakistan

Journal Article
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Publication Abstract: 

The eastern and southern parts of the Faisalabad
city produce considerable quantities of industrial and municipal
pollutants, much of which is drained into the River
Chenab, reducing the productivity of fauna and flora in the
river. This study was aimed to determine whether cysteine is
useful as a biomarker of exposure to polluted fresh water. The
amino acid profile of fish muscle was analyzed by paper chromatography
in Cirrhinus mrigala and Labeo rohita from the
River Chenab to determine habitat related variations due to the
pollution from industrial and domestic sources. C. mrigala
showed higher level of metal contamination in muscle tissues
for Sn, Cr, Pb, Zn, Mn, Cu, and Cd when compared to
L. rohita. Both fish species collected from polluted areas of
the river Chenab showed significantly (P< 0.01) higher levels
of metals in comparison to upstream and farmed fish. Farmed
C. mrigala showed cysteine concentrations in the muscle
tissue as 22± 1 mg/g dry weight, but concentrations increased
to 45 ± 2 mg/g dry weight for fish from a mildly polluted
section of the river, and further increased to 83± 2 mg/g dry
weight in more heavily polluted sections. Cysteine concentration
in farmed L. rohita was detected as 28± 2 and 25± 4 mg/g
dry weight, respectively for farmed fish and fish from a mildly
polluted section of the river, and then increased to 94± 3 mg/g
dry weight for fish from highly polluted water. C. mrigala
from a mildly polluted area of the river also had higher levels
of cysteine in the muscle, along with increases in aspartic acid,
glutamic acid, and alanine. Elevated concentrations of cysteine
seem to be associated with a threat to these fish species in
polluted sections of the river, and thus may be used as a