Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (2018) 100:765–771
Toxicological Assessment of Heavy Metal Bioaccumulation
and Oxidative Stress Biomarkers In Clarias gariepinus from Igbokoda
River of South Western Nigeria
Oluwatosin Adetola Arojojoye
· Ademola Adetokunbo Oyagbemi
· Jeremiah Moyinoluwalogo Afolabi
Received: 9 September 2017 / Accepted: 16 April 2018 / Published online: 26 April 2018
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
This study evaluated the environmental safety of Igbokoda River, a popular ﬁshing hub in an oil producing area in Nige-
ria. Biomarkers of oxidative stress and heavy metals were determined in the liver and muscle of Clarias gariepinus from
Igbokoda River and also in ﬁsh samples from a clean ﬁsh farm (control). Water samples from both sites were analysed for
physicochemical parameters, heavy metals and bacterial contamination. There was signiﬁcant increase in the level of heavy
metals in water samples and in the organs of ﬁsh from Igbokoda River. A signiﬁcant increase in malondialdehyde level as
well as alterations in antioxidant status was observed in the organs of ﬁsh samples from Igbokoda River compared with
control. Coliforms and salmonella were also visible in Igbokoda River alongside particulate matter. These results show that
Igbokoda River is polluted; consumption of aquatic organisms from the River may be unsafe for people in that community.
Keywords Aquatic pollution · Oxidative stress · Bioaccumulation · Heavy metals · Toxicity
The unfortunate eﬀects of man’s activities on the environ-
ment include depletion of natural resources alongside pol-
lution of the natural systems with grave consequences on
the ecosystems (Williams et al. 2016). The aquatic system
is not left unscathed as discharges from oil spills, domestic
sewage, industrial eﬄuents and metallurgical and mining
operations continue to compromise the quality of water con-
tent (Gavrilescu et al. 2015). Heavy metals when released
as a by-product of these processes leach into water bodies
and trigger biological processes which are of grave health
concern (Eroglu et al. 2015).
Water pollution can be detected by chemical and biologi-
cal methods. In the former, water samples are collected and
analyzed for concentrations of chemicals which they possess
(Kong et al. 2015). Such chemicals such as cadmium, nickel,
lead, arsenic and other compounds can easily be detected,
alongside bacteria load, particulate matter and foreign bod-
ies. Conversely, in biological method which is commonly
used today; ﬁshes, insects and other marine organisms are
used in assessing the quality of aquatic bodies, serving as
bio-indicators of environmental pollution (Okay et al. 2016).
When heavy metals amass in their tissues, they generate
speciﬁc reactive oxygen species (ROS), a major precursor
of oxidative stress (Eroglu et al. 2015; Abdel-Gawad et al.
2016). The body acts to counter the eﬀect of these oxidants
by activating a series of antioxidant defense systems such
as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and the
glutathione triad: reduced glutathione (GSH), glutathione
s-transferase (GST) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx).
They all have speciﬁc functions in detoxifying the ROS spe-
cies generated by aquatic pollutants (Farombi et al. 2007).
Aquatic contaminants are not easily destroyed through the
natural process of biological degradation and therefore
have the ability to accumulate in the environment (Liu et al.
2016). This makes these toxicants harmful to the aquatic
ecosystem and to humans who depend on aquatic products
as sources of food; it raises grave public health concerns.
In Nigeria, increased industrialization has negative
impact on water bodies with reports of pollution on the
* Oluwatosin Adetola Arojojoye
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences, Lead City
University, Ibadan, Nigeria
Department of Veterinary Physiology, Biochemistry
and Pharmacology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria