Iranian Journal of Parasitology 2013. 8(4):552-558.

Bioaccumulation of Some Heavy Metals in the Liver Flukes Fasciola hepatica and F. gigantica.
Wael Mohamed Lotfy, Anwar Mohsen Ezz, Ashraf Ali Moustafa Hassan



Background: Heavy metals tend to bioaccumulate in living organisms, and their accumulation has been a major concern. As mammals are known to excrete heavy metals via their bile, it seems to be very promising to analyse metal burdens of par-asites that infect the biliary tree such as liver flukes of the genus Fasciola. The pre-sent study was carried out to evaluate F. hepatica and F. gigantica as bioaccumulators of heavy metals, and to estimate their use as sensitive markers of environmental pollution with heavy metals.

Methods: A total of 36 slaughtered buffaloes (26 infected and 10 controls) col-lected from the slaughter-house of Tanta City, Egypt were used. Samples of muscle and liver tissues were taken from each buffalo. A total of 44 adult Fasciola flukes were collected from the 26 infected buffaloes. Quantification of some heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn) in samples was carried out using electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry.

Results: Results revealed different concentrations of heavy metals in different host tissues. The adult flukes were classified into F. hepatica (n = 25) and F. gigantica (n = 19). The bio-concentration factor (BCF) of Cr was significantly higher in F. hepatica (P = 0.0465) while BCF of Zn was significantly higher in F. gigantica (P = 0.0189). A comparative study between the two species as regards the BCF was never done before.

Conclusion: The obtained results indicate the possibility of use of Fasciola flukes as markers of environmental pollution with some heavy metals.


Bioaccumulation; Fasciola; Heavy metals

Full Text:



Kennish MJ. Ecology of Estuaries Anthro-pogenic Effects. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1992.

Connell DW, Miller GJ. Chemistry of Ecotoxicology Pollution. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons; 1984.

Grodzińska K, Frontasyeva M, Szarek-Lukaszewska G, Klich M, Kucharska-Fabiś A, Gundorina SF, Ostrovnaya TM. Trace element contamination in industrial regions of Poland studied by moss monitoring. Environ Monit Assess. 2003;87:255-70.

Aslam B, Javed I, Khan FH, Zia-ur-Rahman. Uptake of heavy metal residues from sewerage sludge in the milk of goat and cattle during summer season. Pak Vet J. 2011;31:75-7.

Valko M, Morris H, Cronin MT. Metals, Toxicity and Oxidative Stress. Curr Med Chem. 2005;12:1161-208.

Mohammad IK, Mahdi AA, Raviraja A, Najmul I, Iqbal A, Thuppil V. Oxidative stress in painters exposed to low lead levels. Arhiv Hig Rada Toksikol. 2008;59:161-9.

Soetan KO, Olaiya CO, Oyewole OE. The importance of mineral elements for humans, domestic animals and plants Afr J Food Sci. 2010;4:200-22.

Akpor OB, Muchie M. Remediation of heavy metals in drinking water and wastewater treatment systems: Processes and applications. Int J Phys Sci. 2010;5:1807-17.

Arao T, Ishikawa S, Murakami M, Abe K, Maejima Y, Makino T. Heavy metal contam-ination of agricultural soil and countermeasures in Japan. Paddy Water Environ. 2010;8:247-57.

Rosenberg DM, Resh VH. Freshwater Biomonitoring and Benthic Microinvertebrates. New York, NY: Chapman and Hall; 1993.

Sures B. Environmental Parasitology: Releva-ncy of parasites in monitoring environmental pollution. Trends Parasitol. 2004;20:170-7.

Vidal-Martínez VM, Pech D, Sures B, Purucker ST, Poulin R. Can parasites really reveal environmental impact? Trends Parasitol. 2010;26:44-50.

Sures B, Steiner W, Rydlo M, Taraschewski H. Concentrations of 17 elements in the Zebra mussel (Dreisena polymorpha), in different tissues of perch (Perca fluviatilis), and in perch intestinal parasites (Acanthocephalus lucii) from the sub-alpine lake Mondsee, Austria. Environ Toxicol Chem. 1999;18:2574-9.

Sures B, Taraschewski H. Cadmium concen-trations in two adult acanthocephalans Pompho-rhynchus leavis and Acanthocephalus lucii, as compared with their fish hosts and cadmium and lead levels in larvae of A. lucii as compared with their crustacean host. Parasitol Res. 1995;81:494-7.

Taraschewski H. Host-parasite interactions in Acanthocephala: A morphological approach. Adv Parasit 2000;46:1-179.

Sures B, Jurges G, Taraschewski H. Relative concentration of heavy metlas in the parasites Ascaris suum (Nematoda) and Fasciola hepatica (Digenea) and their respective porcine and bovine definitive hosts Int J Parasitol. 1998;28:1173-8.

Tenora F, Kračmar S, Prokeš M, Baruš V, Sitko J. Heavy metal concentrations in tape-worms Diploposthe laevis and Microsomacanthus compressa parasitizing aquatic birds. Helmin-thologia. 2001;38:36-66.

Sures B. Accumulation of heavy metals by intestinal helminths in fish: an overview and perspective. Parasitology. 2003;126:53-60.

Eira C, Torres J, Miquel J, Vaqueiro J, Soares AMVM, Vingada J. Trace element conce-ntrations in Proteocephalus macrocephalus (Cestoda) and Anguillicola crassus (Nematoda) in compa-rison to their fish host, Anguilla anguilla in Ria de Aveiro, Portugal. Sci Total Environ. 2009;407:991-8.

WHO. Elemental Speciation in Human Health Risk Assessment. No. 234. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2006.

Lotfy WM, Brant SV, DeJong RJ, Le TH, Demiaszkiewicz A, Rajapakse RP, Perera VB, Laursen JR, Loker ES. Evolutionary origins, diversification, and biogeography of liver flukes (Digenea, Fasciolidae). Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2008;79(2):248-55. PubMed PMID: 18689632; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2577557.

Mas-Coma S, Valero MA, Bargues MD. Chapter 2. Fasciola, lymnaeids and human fascioliasis, with a global overview on disease transmission, epidemiology, evolutionary gene-tics, molecular epidemiology and control. Adv Parasitol. 2009;69:41-146. doi: 10.1016/S0065-308X(09) 69002-3. PubMed PMID: 19622408.

Mas-Coma S. Human fascioliasis: epidemi-ological patterns in human endemic areas of South America, Africa and Asia. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2004;35(1 Suppl):1-11.

Lotfy WM, El-Morshedy HN, Abou El-Hoda M, El-Tawila MM, Omar EA, Farag HF. Identification of the Egyptian species of Fasciola. Vet Parasitol. 2002;103(4):323-32. PubMed PMID: 11777611.

Mascia C, Capone W, Melis M, Valenti D. Determination of heavy metals in animal tissues. Farmaco. 1990;45(6 Suppl):777-81.

Abou-Arab AA. Heavy metal contents in Egyptian meat and the role of detergent washing on their levels. Food Chem Toxicol. 2001;39(6):593-9.

Gasparik J, Massányi P, Slamecka J, Fabis M, Jurcik R. Concentration of selected metals in liver, kidney, and muscle of the red deer (Cervus elaphus). J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 2004;39(8):2105-11.

Morley NJ, Lewis JW, Hoole D. Pollutant-induced effects on immunological and physiological interactions in aquatic host-trematode systems: implications for parasite transmission. J Helminthol. 2006;80(2):137-49. PubMed PMID: 16768857.

Tekwani BL, Shukla OP, Ghatak S. Altered drug metabolism in parasitic diseases. Parasitol Today. 1988;4:4-10.

Benkova M, Soltys J, Boroskova Z. Modulation of the blood leucocyte and sheep complement activity by heavy metal immission in experimental fasciolosis. Helminthologia. 1993;30:29-34.

Koh TS, Judson GJ. Trace elements in sheep grazing near a lead- zinc smelting complex at port Pirie South Australia. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 1986;37:87-95.

Schuhmacher M, Bosque AM, Domingo LJ, Carbella J. Dietary intake of lead and cadmium from foods in Tarragona province, Spain. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 1991;46:320-28.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License which allows users to read, copy, distribute and make derivative works for non-commercial purposes from the material, as long as the author of the original work is cited properly.