Ogungbile, P.O., Ajibare, A.O., Ekanade C.T., Akinola, O.M., Akande, J.A. and M.K.C. Sridhard
Accepted on March 02, 2023
This study measured the concentration of heavy metals in bushmeat in Epe and its environs in Southwestern Nigeria. Ten bushmeat varieties viz:- Antelope (Antilope servicapra), Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), Roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus), Grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus), Hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris), Squirrel (Xerus erythropus), Bushbuck (Tragelophus scriptas), Porcupine (Atherurus africanus), Phython (Python sebae) and Duicker (Sylvicapra grimmia) were sourced from the study area. Concentrations of Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu), Lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd), Nickel (Ni) and Zinc (Zn) in the meat samples were determined using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer and the mean values were used to study their accumulation patterns in the bushmeat. Among all the bushmeat studied heavy metal concentration in Alligator was the highest for Fe (5801.47 mg/kg), Cu (11.03mg/kg and Ni (10.08 mg/kg), Mn level in Alligator was 21.70 mg/kg, while in Grasscutter, Zn was 145.46 mg/kg. These concentrations were compared to FAO/WHO (2011) standards only to find that the amounts of Fe, Cu and Zn exceeded the permissible limits in all the bushmeat samples. Likewise, Ni concentrations in Alligator, Roan antelope and Squirrel exceeded the FAO/ WHO (2011) limits. The mean concentrations of Cd, and Pb in all the bushmeat samples fell below detectable limits, also Ni concentrations in Hedgehog, Squirrel, Bushbuck Porcupine, Python, and Duicker were equally below detection. The bioaccumulation sequence of the heavy metals was similar for Roan antelope and Squirrel where Fe > Zn > Ni > Cu > Mn. Hedgehog, Bushbuck and Python also showed comparable bioaccumulation sequence where Fe > Zn > Mn > Cu. Furthermore, Grasscutter, Porcupine and Duicker exhibited identical bioaccumulation sequence of Fe >Zn > Cu > Mn. Traced bioaccumulation sequence was unique for Antelope (Fe > Zn > Mn > Ni > Cu) and Alligator (Fe > Zn > Mn > Cu > Ni). Of the essential heavy metals required in various quantities by humans, the mean values for Fe, Cu and Zn in the bushmeat samples were above the FAO/WHO (2011) permissible limits. This could signal negative health implications. Also, Cd and Pb often associated with human poisoning were not detected in the bushmeat samples, making the consumption of bushmeat from the study area permissible.