• Victor A. Panga Physics Department, University of Dar es Salaam, P.o. Box 35063, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Mwingereza J. Kumwenda Physics Department, University of Dar es Salaam, P.o. Box 35063, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Ismael N. Makundi Physics Department, University of Dar es Salaam, P.o. Box 35063, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Keywords: Heavy metals, Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence, African Sharptooth Catfish, Gold mine


Concentrations of heavy metals namely Cr, Fe, Cu, Zn, As, Cd and Pb in African Sharptooth Catfish (clarias gariepinus) and sediment from river Mtakuja Tanzania were analyzed using the Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence spectrometry technique. 32 samples from fish and sediment were investigated. The results show that the concentration of heavy metals was higher in upstream areas than in the downstream area. The concentration of Fe of 428.5 mg/kg in catfish from the upstream area was about 2 times 243.8 mg/kg obtained from the same fish in the downstream area. Similar cases observed for sediments with Fe concentration of 127626.9 mg/kg from upstream that was about 6 times higher than that of 21460.3 mg/kg from downstream area. The concentration of 44.8 mg/kg for Cu in the upstream area sediment was also about 2 times higher than 23.2 mg/kg in the downstream area sediment, while for as the concentration of 13.2 mg/kg was measured in the upstream, which is which is more than 5 times 2.5 mg/kg measured in downstream. The concentration of Cr in the catfish was 17.6 mg/kg which is higher than the permissible limit values of 0.8 mg/kg set by the European Commission (EC), 0.2 mg/kg set by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and 0.15 mg/kg the World Health Organization (WHO) limit. Moreover, the concentration of Cd was 3.0 mg/kg, which is above the permissible level of 0.2 mg/kg recommended by the EC and WHO. A positive correlation exists between the Cu, Pb, Fe and Cd concentration found in sediments and fish samples. The results show that the river Mtakuja is polluted by mining waste, domestic and agrochemical activities. This suggest that, there is a need for regular monitoring of heavy metal in river Mtakuja in order to monitor and protect aquatic organisms and health of benefactors of this river.


Ahmad, M. K., Islam, S., Rahman, S., Haque, M. & Islam, M. M. 2010. Heavy metals in water, sediment and some fishes of Buriganga River, Bangladesh. International J. Environmental Res, 4(2), pp. 321-332.

Almas, Å. R. & Manoko, M. L. K. 2012. Trace element concentrations in soil, sediments, and waters in the vicinity of Geita Gold Mines and North Mara Gold Mines in Northwest Tanzania. Soil and Sediment Contamination: An International Journal, 21(2), pp. 135-159.

Baby, J., Raj, J. S., Biby, E. T., Sankarganesh, P., Jeevitha, M. V., Ajisha, S. U. & Rajan, S. S. 2010. Toxic effect of heavy metals on aquatic environment. International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences, 4(4), pp. 939-952. DOI: 10.4314/ijbcs.v4i4.62976

Bitala, M. F. 2008. Evaluation of heavy Metals Pollution in Soil and Plants accrued from Gold Mining activities in Geita Tanzania. MSc Thesis, University of Dar es Salaam.

Candeias, C., Ávila, P., Coehlo, P. & Teixeira, J. P. 2018. Mining activities: health impacts. Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, pp. 1-21.

Casiot, C., Egal, M., Elbaz-Poulichet, F., Bruneel, O., Bancon-Montigny, C., Cordier, M.-A., Gomez, E. & Aliaume, C. 2009. Hydrological and geochemical control of metals and arsenic in a Mediterranean river contaminated by acid mine drainage (the Amous River, France); preliminary assessment of impacts on fish (Leuciscus cephalus). Applied geochemistry, 24(5), pp. 787-799.

Duruibe, J. O., Ogwuegbu, M. O. C. & Egwurugwu, J. N. 2007. Heavy metal pollution and human biotoxic effects. International Journal of physical sciences, 2, pp. 112-118.

Emel, J., Plisinski, J. & Rogan, J. 2014. Monitoring geomorphic and hydrologic change at mine sites using satellite imagery: The Geita Gold Mine in Tanzania. Applied Geography, 54, pp. 243-249.

Eser, A., Kahraman, E.& Demiray, M. 2014. Comparison of atomic absorption spectroscopy and energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometer methods for chemical analysis. Asian J. Chem. 26(20), pp. 6982-6988.

European Community (EC) 2005. Commission regulation number 78/2005, Official Journal of European Union. Available at;

Jaishankar, M., Tseten, T., Anbalahan, N., Mathew, B. B. & Beeregowda, K. N. 2014. Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals. Interdisciplinary toxicology, 7, pp. 60-72.

Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. Meeting (‎67th: 2006: Rome, Italy)‎, World Health Organization & Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (‎2007)‎. Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants: sixty-seventh report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. World Health Organization.

Kadachi, A. N. & AL‐Eshaikh, M. A. 2012. Limits of detection in XRF spectroscopy. X‐Ray Spectrometry, 41(5), pp. 350-354.

Karbassi, A. R., Monavari, S. M., Nabi Bidhendi, G. R., Nouri, J. & Nematpour, K. 2008. Metal pollution assessment of sediment and water in the Shur River. Environmental monitoring and assessment, 147(1), pp. 107-116.

Mataba, G. R., Verhaert, V., Blust, R. & Bervoets, L. 2016. Distribution of trace elements in the aquatic ecosystem of the Thigithe river and the fish Labeo victorianus in Tanzania and possible risks for human consumption. Science of the Total Environment, 547, pp. 48-59.

Mielcarek, K., Nowakowski, P., Puscion-Jakubik, A., Gromkowska-Kepka, K. J., Soroczynska, J., Markiewicz-Żukowska, R., Naliwajko, S. K., Grabia, M., Bielecka, J. & Żmudzinska, A. 2022. Arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury content and health risk assessment of consuming freshwater fish with elements of chemometric analysis. Food Chemistry, 379(132167), pp. 1-11.

Miri, M., Akbari, E., Amrane, A., Jafari, S. J., Eslami, H., Hoseinzadeh, E., Zarrabi, M., Salimi, J., Sayyad-Arbabi, M. & Taghavi, M. 2017. Health risk assessment of heavy metal intake due to fish consumption in the Sistan region, Iran. Environmental monitoring and assessment, 189, pp. 1-10.

Mohamed, N. K., Ntarisa, A. V. R., Makundi, I. N. & Kucera, J. 2016. Impact of North Mara gold mine on the element contents in fish from the river Mara, Tanzania. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 309, pp. 421-427.

Nyankweli, E. M. 2012. Foreign direct investment and poverty alleviation: the case of Bulyanhulu and Geita gold mines, Tanzania, African Studies Centre. PhD Thesis, University of Leiden.

Okereafor, U., Makhatha, M., Mekuto, L., Uche-Okereafor, N., Sebola, T. & Mavumengwana, V. 2020. Toxic metal implications on agricultural soils, plants, animals, aquatic life and human health. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(2204), pp. 1-24.

Opaluwa, O. D., Aremu, M. O., Logbo, L. O., Imagaji, J. & Eodiba, I. 2012. Assessment of heavy metals in water, fish and sediments from UKE stream, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. Current World Environment, 7(2), pp. 213-220.

Perring, L., Nicolas, M., Andrey, D., Fragnière Rime, C., Richoz-Payot, J., Dubascoux, S.& Poitevin, E. 2017. Development and validation of an ED-XRF method for the fast quantification of mineral elements in dry pet food samples. J. Food Analyt. Meth. 10(5), pp. 1469-1478.

Ravisankar, R., Sivakumar, S., Chandrasekaran, A., Kanagasabapathy, K.V., Prasad, M.V.R.&Satapathy, K.K. 2015. Statistical assessment of heavy metal pollution in sediments of east coast of Tamilnadu using Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (EDXRF). J. Appl. Rad. Isot. 102, pp. 42-47.

Rousseau, R. M. 2001. Detection limit and estimate of uncertainty of analytical XRF results. Rigaku J, 18(2), pp. 33-47.

Shen, F., Mao, L., Sun, R., Du, J., Tan, Z. & Ding, M. 2019. Contamination evaluation and source identification of heavy metals in the sediments from the Lishui River Watershed, Southern China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16, 336.

Vaiopoulou, E. & Gikas, P. 2020. Regulations for chromium emissions to the aquatic environment in Europe and elsewhere. Chemosphere, 254(126876), pp. 1-11.

Wang, X.-N., Gu, Y.-G. & Wang, Z.-H. 2020. Fingerprint characteristics and health risks of trace metals in market fish species from a large aquaculture producer in a typical arid province in Northwestern China. Environmental technology & innovation, 19(100987), pp. 1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.eti.2020.100987

WHO/FAO (World Health Organization/ Food and Agriculture Organization) 2015,CodexAlimentarius commission. General standards for contaminants.

Yi, Y. J. & Zhang, S. H. 2012. The relationships between fish heavy metal concentrations and fish size in the upper and middle reach of Yangtze River. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 13, pp. 1699-1707.

Original Scientific Paper