TPS 931: Water and foodborne chemicals, Exhibition Hall, Ground floor, August 28, 2019, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Background/Aim: Mercury pollution in the interior of Suriname due to Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining has led to elevated mercury levels in predatory freshwater fish species. While fish consumption is a major source of nutrients necessary for proper neurodevelopment, maternal consumption of mercury-contaminated fish presents a significant public health concern. This study determined nutritional fatty acid profiles in select species of freshwater and marine fish in Suriname.
Methods: Five freshwater species and three marine species of fish (n=5/species) were selected for fatty acid analysis in muscle using gas chromatography. These fish species were reported to be among the most preferred and heavily consumed by women enrolled in the Caribbean Consortium for Research in Environmental and Occupational Health (CCREOH) Surinamese birth cohort. An omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA-3) index was used to compare fatty acid content of fish (PUFA-3 = EPA+DHA). SPSS version 23 was used to conduct Mann-Whitney U and the Kruskal-Wallis H tests to test for differences across habitat (marine vs. freshwater species) or species.
Results: There was significantly higher PUFA-3 content in marine fish compared to freshwater fish species (U = 106.5, p<0.001), that varied across the selected fish species (Kruskal-Wallis test=28.41, p=0.0002). Arachidonic acid was significantly lower in marine fish compared to freshwater species (U=11.0, p<0.001), and varied across specific fish species (Kruskal-Wallis test= 27.7, p<0.001).
Conclusions: Omega-3 fatty acids considered important for pediatric and adult health were lower in freshwater fish than marine species. Frequent consumption of Hoplias aimara, a freshwater fish with high mercury and low PUFA-3 content is likely to be risky. Frequent consumption of Plagioscion squamosissimus, a freshwater fish with high mercury and high PUFA-3, may have nutritional benefits that outweigh mercury-neurotoxicity. While freshwater species are a good source of these nutrients, corresponding mercury content must be assessed and considered as well.