University Of Tasmania

File(s) not publicly available

Total arsenic accumulation in yabbies (Cerax destructorClark) exposed to elevated arsenic in Victorian gold mining areas

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 20:57 authored by G Williams, West, JM, Elizabeth Snow
Arsenic is a proven carcinogen often found at high concentrations in association with gold and other heavy metals. The freshwater yabby, Cherax destructor Clark (Decapoda, Parastacidae), is a ubiquitous species native to Australia's central and eastern regions, with a growing international commercial market. However, in this region of Australia, yabby farmers often harvest organisms from old mine tailings dams with elevated environmental arsenic levels. Yabbies exposed to elevated environmental arsenic were found to accumulate and store as much as 100 μg/g arsenic in their tissues. The accumulation is proportional to the concentration of arsenic in the sediment and is high enough to be of concern for people who eat the yabbies. A comparison of arsenic levels in wild and lab-fed animals also was performed. Although there was no significant difference in the level of arsenic in the various organs of the wild animals, the animals purchased from a yabby farm showed a significantly higher arsenic concentration in their hepatopancreas (3.7 ± 0.9 μg/g) compared to other organs (0.6-1.8 μg/g). Furthermore, after a 40-d exposure to food containing 200 to 300 μg/g inorganic arsenic, arsenate (As[V])-exposed animals showed a significant increase in tissue-specific arsenic accumulation, whereas arsenite (As[III])-exposed animals showed a lower, nonsignificant increase in As uptake, primarily in the hepatopancreas. These results have important implications for yabby growers and consumers alike. © 2008 SETAC.


Publication title

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry










School of Health Sciences


Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and Allen Press Publishing Services

Place of publication

Lawrence, KS 66044, USA

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Food safety

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania