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To assess the impact of lake trophy on trace element accumulation by Unio pictorum mancus, a population from the mesooligotrophic Lake Maggiore was compared with a population from the eutrophic Lake Candia. The element content in soft tissue and shell biomass, the seasonal variations of element concentrations in soft tissues and shell, and the relationship between element concentrations in the water and those in the tissues were estimated in pursuit of this objective. Thirteen mussel samplings were performed in Lake Maggiore between May 2003 and September 2004 and in Lake Candia between June 2003 and August 2004. Filtered water samples were collected seasonally. Water, shell and soft tissue samples were analysed by ICP-OES and ICP-MS for the measurement of following elements: Zn, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, As, Pb, Co, Cr, Mo, V, Cd, Be and Ca. The element concentrations in the mussel tissues and shell from Lake Maggiore were higher than those from Lake Candia. Due to the higher population density and higher element concentrations in the mussels of Lake Maggiore, the element content in the biomass per m2 in this lake far exceeded that in Lake Candia. The element concentrations in the mussel tissues, but not in their shells, of both lakes showed a seasonal pattern of variation; this was to be expected as a result of the slower turnover time of the elements in the shell than in the tissues. For all the elements, except Mo, Cr and Be, the "concentration factor" (C.F.) value was higher in Lake Maggiore than in Lake Candia mussels, ranging from 10 to 104 and 10 to 103 respectively. The higher concentrations in the mussel tissues from Lake Maggiore were justified not merely by the higher element concentrations in the lake water, but probably also because other causes, such as element concentrations in food and element abundance in available forms, combine to affect the concentrations of the elements in the tissues.
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