Monitoring and research of microcystins and environmental factors
in a typical artificial freshwater aquaculture pond
Received: 26 June 2016 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published online: 12 December 2017
Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017
Freshwater aquaculture ponds are important artificially regulated aquatic ecosystems which provide a large number of freshwater
fish products in China. The cyanobacteria bloom and microcystin (MC) pollution caused by anthropogenic eutrophication have
attracted much attention due to their toxic effects. To provide an insight into the cyanobacterial problem in the ponds, the
environmental parameters and MCs of a typical artificial pond in the Yangtze River Delta region of China were monitored
and studied from May to December 2015. During the monitoring period, the ponds were in serious eutrophication with total
phosphorus (TP) concentrations between 0.95 and 1.80 μg/L, and total nitrogen (TN) concentrations between 1.1 and 4.86 μg/L.
High feed coefficient and high fish stock were the main reasons for the eutrophication. The results showed that the water
temperature was the key factor that affected the cyanobacteria blooming in the pond. The chlorophyll a concentration was
significantly positively correlated with the cyanobacteria density during the blooming season. MC-LR and MC-RR existed
simultaneously and showed a significant positive correlation. The peak concentrations of dissolved MC-LR and MC-RR in
the pond water were 40.6 and 4.7 μg/L, respectively, which is considered highly toxic. Free MC-LR and MC-RR were also found
in the aquaculture products. MC-LR concentrations in the bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis) liver and shrimp (Macrobrachium
nipponense)musclewereupto2.64and4.17μg/kg, respectively. MC-RR concentration was up to 1.89 μg/kg in the black carp
(Mylopharyngodon piceus) liver. The results implied the potential health risks for citizens and pets caused by current artificial
freshwater aquaculture pond systems.
Artificial freshwater aquaculture pond
Freshwater ponds are important resources (Oertli et al. 2009).
One of the most important uses of ponds in China is aquacul-
ture. According to 2013 statistics, the national aquaculture
area in China was up to 6.08 million ha and the total output
of fresh water products was 31.65 million t (The People’s
Republic of China Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries Bureau
2015). China’s freshwater aquaculture area and production
stand first in the world (Zhang et al. 2015). Products from
freshwater aquaculture are the main source of fish protein in
the Chinese diet (Lu et al. 2015;Shenetal.2016).
Pond aquaculture is the main type of freshwater aquacul-
ture in the Yangtze River Delta region of China (Zhang et al.
2015). Since the 1990s, the rapid development of pond aqua-
culture in the Yangtze River Delta region has changed from
the extensive mode to the intensive mode. In the constant
pursuit of high yields, the stocking density and feeding of
the artificial fine feed have increased as much as possible.
Therefore, the exogenous feed input is continually increasing.
Because most ponds are small, shallow, and stagnant, the in-
creasing residual bait and fish excretion have already led to
deterioration of the water aquaculture as an ecological envi-
ronment (Lu et al. 2015;Shenetal.2016). Studies have indi-
cated that the nitrogen, phosphorus elements, and organic pol-
lutants in the water and sediment of the area are seriously
excessive, which have caused serious anthropogenic eutrophi-
cation and loss of the self-purification capability of the water
body (Xia et al. 2004; Xie et al. 2004;Wuetal.2014). At the
Responsible editor: Vitor Manuel Oliveira Vasconcelos
* Xiaobin Hu
School of Life Science, Huzhou University,
Huzhou, Zhejiang 313000, China
Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2018) 25:5921–5933