Differential bioaccumulation of trace elements and rare earth elements in the muscle, kidneys, and liver of the invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois spp.) from Cuba.
The Indo-Pacific lionfish is a saltwater fish that inhabits the Red Sea waters and the Indian and Pacific oceans; it is an invasive species in the western Atlantic and was recently introduced into the local diet in the USA, Central and South America, and the Caribbean with the aim of controlling the invasion of this species. Due to its predatory nature, it tends to bioaccumulate metals and other contaminants via the marine food web and could thus constitute a suitable species for monitoring aquatic ecosystems. The presence and distribution of 23 trace elements and 16 rare earth elements (REEs) were investigated by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) in the muscle, liver, and kidneys of lionfish from Cuba. Significant differences in metal concentrations were found in the different fish organs. The liver and kidneys registered the highest concentrations for most trace elements and for ΣREE, thus demonstrating that they are effective bioindicators of possible pollution on the environment in which fish live, and assuming great importance in the choice of early biomonitoring. Trace element concentrations in the muscle are instead of crucial interest for consumer safety. The limits set by EU regulations and Cuban guidelines for Cd and Pb in fish muscle were never exceeded, suggesting that lionfish from Cuba could therefore represent a good source of minerals and proteins for the local population.