Instrumental Neutron Activation Technique in Characterization of Elements in Organs of Some Fish Species Harvested from Zobe Dam, Katsina State

  • Ibrahim Abubakar
  • Emmanuel Joseph
Keywords: Oreochromis niloticus, Clarias gariepinus, Toxic elements, Essential elements, Dierary intake, Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis


Instrumental neutron activation technique has shown to be a reliable tool for its non-destructive, multi-elemental capability for analysis in various matrices. This technique has been applied to investigate the concentration of chemical elements in organs of Oreochromis niloticus and Clarias gariepinus fish varieties harvested from Zobe Dam, Katsina State, Nigeria in order to determine the essential elements and toxic elements that may pose health risk to humans when consumed. Twenty-one (21) elements, namely Mg, Al, Cl, Ca, Cr, V, Cu, I, Mn, Na, K, As, Br, La, Sm, Sc, Fe, Co, Zn, Rb, and Ba, were detected. These elements could be categorized into three main groups; the essential elements, Fe, Cu, Al, Zn, Cr, Mg, Ca, Cl, I, Mn, Na, K, and Co; non-essential elements, Ba, Rb, V, La, Sc, and Sm; and possibly toxic elements, As and Br. The dietary intake of some essential and toxic elements was estimated for tissue of the studied fishes by considering WHO/FAO tolerable daily intake of adults (TDI/70 kg). Although, the results of our analysis showed most of the concentrations of the detected elements exceeded the maximum guidelines set, however, the results of the estimated dietary intake show that the concentrations of all the identified elements in tissue of both fish species including the potential toxic elements (As and Br) are well below the toxicological reference values provided by the WHO/FAO and were found within the nutritional threshold. Therefore, consumption of tissue of the studied fish species is considered safe. 


Aaseth, J. & Berlinger, B. (2022). Handbook on the toxicology of metals (5th ed.).
Abdel-Baki et al. (2011). Bioaccumulation of some heavy metals in tilapia fish relevant to their concentration in water and sediment of Wadi Hanifah, Saudi Arabia. African Journal of Biotechnology, 13(10), 2541-2547.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) (2004). Agency for toxic substances and disease registry. Division of Toxicology, Clifton Road, Atlanta. Available at http:/
Ahmed, M. K., Kundu, G. K., Al-Mamun, M. H., Sarkar, S. K., Akter, M. S., & Khan, M. S. (2013). Chromium (VI) induced acute toxicity and genotoxicity in freshwater stinging catfish, Heteropneustes fossilis. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 92, 64-70.
Ambedkar, G., & Muniyan, M. (2011). Bioaccumulation of some heavy metals in the selected five freshwater fish from Kollidam River, Tamilnadu, India. Advances in Applied Science Research, 2(5), 221-225.
Andresen, E., Peiter, E., & Küpper, H. (2018). Trace metal metabolism in plants. Journal of Experimental Botany, 69(5), 909-954.
Anim, A. K., Ahialey, E. K., Duodu, G. O., Ackah, M., & Bentil, N. O. (2011). Accumulation profile of heavy metals in fish samples from Nsawam, along the Densu River, Ghana. Research Journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences, 3(1), 56-60.
Anke, M., Angelow, L., Müller, R., & Anke, S. (2005). Recent progress in exploring the essentiality of the ultratrace element rubidium to the nutrition of animals and man. Biomedical Research on Trace Elements, 16(3), 203-207.
Appel, L. J., Frohlich, E. D., Hall, J. E., Pearson, T. A., Sacco, R. L., Seals, D. R., ... & Van Horn, L. V. (2011). The importance of population-wide sodium reduction as a means to prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke: a call to action from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 123(10), 1138-1143.
Authman, M. M., Zaki, M. S., Khallaf, E. A., & Abbas, H. H. (2015). Use of fish as bio-indicator of the effects of heavy metals pollution. Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development, 6(4), 328.
Butchman, A. R. (2014). Manganese. In A. C. Ross, B. H. Caballero, R. J. Cousins, K. L. Tucker, & Y. R. Ziegler (Eds.), Modern Nutrition in Health and Diseases (11th ed., pp. 238-44). Baltimor, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
De Boeck, G., Meeus, W., De Coen, W., & Blust, R. (2004). Tissue-specific Cu bioaccumulation patterns and differences in sensitivity to waterborne Cu in three freshwater fish: rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), and gibel carp (Carassius auratus gibelio). Aquatic Toxicology, 70(3), 179-188.
EFSA. (2009a). EFSA Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP). Scientific Opinion on the use of cobalt compounds as additives in animal nutrition. EFSA Journal, 7(12), 1383.
EFSA. (2014). CONTAM Panel (EFSA Panel on contaminants in the food chain). Scientific opinion on the risk to public health related to the presence of Chromium in food and drinking water.
Elshal, M. F., Bernawi, A. E., Al-Ghamdy, M. A., & Jalal, J. A. (2012). The association of bone mineral density and parathyroid hormone with serum magnesium in adult patients with sickle-cell anaemia. Archives of Medical Science, 8(2), 270-276.
Emsley, J. (2011). Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press, New York.
Emsley, J. (2011). Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press, New York.
Emsley, J. (2015). Elements. Samarium.
FAO/WHO. (1976). List of maximum levels recommended for contaminants by the joint FAO/WHO codex alimentarius commission. Second Ser CAC/FAL Rome 3:1- 8.
FAO/WHO. (2011). Expert committee on food additives. Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants: seventy- fourth [74th] report of the JEC.
Farag, A. M., May, T., Marty, G. D., Easton, M., Harper, D. D., Little, E. E., & Cleveland, L. (2006). The effect of chronic chromium exposure on the health of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Aquatic Toxicology, 76(3-4), 246-257.
Farquhar, W. B., Edwards, D. G., Jurkovitz, C. T., & Weintraub, W. S. (2015). Dietary sodium and health: more than just blood pressure. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 65(10), 1042-1050.
FDA. (2023). Environmental Contaminants in Food. Arsenic in Food and Dietary Supplements.
Food and Nutrition Board. (1997). Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D and fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Hartl, M. G. J. (2013). Book review homeostasis and toxicology of non-essential metals. Edited by C. M. Wood, A. P. Farrell & C. J. Brauner. Elsevier, London, U.K., 2012. Journal of Fish Biology, 83, 1476-1477.
IAEA. (1990). Practical Aspects of Operating a Neutron Activation Analysis Laboratory, IAEA TECDOC-564 IAEA, Vienna, Autria, pp. 9-18, 36-37, 50-95.
Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: The National Academic Press; 2011.
IOM (Institute of Medicine) (ed) Washington: National Academic Press; 2005. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate.
Isah, J. (2009). Combatting Water Scarcity in Katsina. Daily Champion, 25th March, 2010 Retrieved on 20-05-2013.
Javed, M. & Usmani, N. (2011). Accumulation of heavy metals in fishes: A human health concern. International Journal of Environmental Sciences, 2(2), 659-670.
Javed, M. & Usmani, N. (2012). Uptake of heavy metals by Channa Puntatus from sewage – fed aquaculture pond of Panethi, Aligarh. Global Journal of Researches in Engineering Chemical Engineering, 12(2).
Jefferson, T. (2014). National Accelerator Facility Office of Science Education.
Jezierska, B. & Witeska, M. (2006). The metal uptake and accumulation in fish living in polluted waters, soil and water. Pollu. Monit. Protech. Remedia., 69, 107-114.
Joint FAO (1991) WHO (1999). Expert committee on food additives. Summary and conclusions. In: 53rd meeting, Rome.
Joseph, E. (2015). Application of K0 –Instrumental neutron activation analysis technique in the characterization of soil at central area of Katsina State.
Karadede, H. & Unlu, E. (2000). Concentrations of Some Heavy Metals in Water, Sediments and Fish Species from the Ataturk Dam Lake (Euphrates), Turkey. Chemosphere, 41, 1371-1376.
Karuppasamy, R. (2000). Tissue histopathology of Channa punctatus under phenyl mercuri cacetate toxicity. Bulletin of Pure and Applied Sciences, 9A(2), 109−116.
Khan, B., Khan, H., Muhammad, S., & Khan, T. (2012). Heavy metals concentration trends in three fish species from Shah Alam River (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan). J. Nat. Environ. Sci, 3(1), 1-8.
Kotchen, T. A., Cowley Jr, A. W., & Frohlich, E. D. (2013). Salt in health and disease—a delicate balance. New England Journal of Medicine, 368(13), 1229-1237.
Longe, J. (Ed.). (2004). The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine (2nd ed.).
Majerle, M. (2006). Experimental studies and simulations of spallation neutron production on a thick lead target. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 41, 331(339).
Malaysian Food Regulation. (1985).
McLaughlin, M. J. (2001). Bioavailablity of Metals to Terrestial Plants. In: Bioavailability of Metals in Terrestrial Ecosystems. Importance of partitioning for Bioavailablity to Inverterbrates, Microbes and Plants, Allen, H. E. (Eds.), SETAC Press, Pensacola, FL, pp: 39-68.
McLaughlin, M.J., Parker, D.R. & Clarke, J.M. (1999). Metals and micronutrients-food safety issues. Field Crops Res., 60, 143-163.
Meenakshi C. (2019). Aluminium-uses-benefits-sources and dosage.
Mohammad, F. A (2008). Bioaccumulation of selected metals and histopathological alterations in tissues of O reochro mis niloticus and L ates nilo ticus from lake Nasser, Egypt. Global Veterinaria, 2(4), 205-218.
Monteiro, S. M., dos Santos, N. M., Calejo, M., Fontainhas-Fernandes, A., & Sousa, M. (2009). Copper toxicity in gills of the teleost fish, Oreochromis niloticus: effects in apoptosis induction and cell proliferation. Aquatic Toxicology, 94(3), 219-228.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Cobalt. (2019).
National Institute of Health office of Dietary Supplements: Calcium fact sheet for Health Professionals. 12/17/2022.
National Institute of Health office of Dietary Supplements: Manganese fact sheet for Health Professionals. 12/17/2021.
Ney, J. J., & Van Hassel, J. H. (1983). Sources of variability in accumulation of heavy metals by fishes in a roadside stream. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 12, 701-706.
Nielsen, F. H. (2012). Manganese, Molybdenum, Boron, Chromium, and Other Trace elements. In: J. W. Erdman Jr. IAM, & S. H. Zeisel (Eds.), Present Knowledge in Nutrition (10th ed., pp. 586-607). Wiley-Blackwell.
Osman et al. (2010). Water quality and Heavy metal monitoring in water, sediments, and tissues of the African Catfish Clarias gariepinus (Burchell 1822) from the River Nile, Egypt. Journal of Environment Protection, 1, 389-400.
Rana, M. S., Halim, M. A., Saliullah, S., Mollah, M. M. & Azam, M. S. (2009). Removal of heavy metal from contaminated water by biopolymer crab shell chitosan. J. Applied Sci., 9, 2762-2769.
Rauf, A., Javed, M., & Ubaidullah, M. (2009). Heavy metal levels in three major carps (Catla catla, Labeo rohita and Cirrhina mrigala) from the River Ravi, Pakistan. Pakistan Vet. J., 29, 24-26.
Robinson, J. & Avenant, O. (2006). Chromium, Copper, Iron and Manganese bioaccumulation in some organs and tissues of Oreochromis mossambicus from the lower Olifants River, inside the Kruger National Park. Water Soil and Air, 4(23), 387.
Schroeder, H. A. (1976). The Trace Elements in Nutrition, Faber and Faber, London, pp. 36-46, 75, 109.
Selda, T.O., Zan, A.E., & Isma’il, K. (2005). Comparative Study on the accumulation of heavy metals in different organs of tench (Tinca tinca L. 1758) and plerocercoids of its endoparasite Light In testinalis. Parasitol. Res., 97, 1412-1419.
Stokes, P. M. (1979). Copper accumulations in aquatic biota. In: JO Nriagu 603 (Ed.), Copper in the environment. Part 1 Ecological cycling (pp. 358-381). John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, United States of America.
Stokinger, H. (1981). The Metals. In Clayton, G.D. & Clayton, F.E. (Eds.), Patty’s Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology (pp. 1493-2060). Wiley, New York.
Uchida, S., Tagami, K. & Hirai, I. (2007). Soil-to-plant transfer factors of stable elements and naturally occurring radionuclides: (2) Rice collected in Japan. J. Nucl. Sci. Technol., 44, 779-790.
Uysal et al. (2008). The determination of heavy metal accumulation ratios in muscles, skin and gills of some migratory fish species by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICPOES) in Beymelek Lagoon (Antalya/ Turkey), Micro chemical Journal, 90, 67-70.
Vineeta Shukla et al. (2005). Bioaccumulation of Zn, Cu and Cd in Channa punctatus. Journal of Environmental Biology, 2(28), 395-397.
Whelton, P. K. et al. (2012). Sodium, blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease; further evidence supporting the American Heart Association sodium reduction recommendations. Circulation, 126, 2880-2889.
WHO. (2016). Barium in Drinking- water. Background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking- water Quality. WHO Press, Geneva.
WHO. Guideline. (2012). Potassium intake for adults and children .Geneva, World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO/FAO (1989). National Research Council Recommended Dietary 626 Allowances (10th ed.). National Academy Press. Washington, DC. USA.
Widmaier, E.P., Raff, H., & Strong K.T. (2008). Vanders Human Physiology: The mechanisms of Body Function. McGrow – Hiu Higher Education; Boston, MA, USA.
Zeneli, L., Daci-Ajvazi, M., Sekovanić, A., Jurasović, J., & Bajraktari, D. (2022). The Effects of Chromium and Vanadium on Biomarkers of Carbohydrate and Lipid Metabolism in Workers Exposed to Coal Fly Ash. Journal of Xenobiotics, 12(4), 307-316.
How to Cite
Abubakar, I., & Joseph, E. (2023). Instrumental Neutron Activation Technique in Characterization of Elements in Organs of Some Fish Species Harvested from Zobe Dam, Katsina State. European Journal of Science, Innovation and Technology, 3(3), 381-397. Retrieved from