Trace elements in waters of inland, low-salinity shrimp ponds in Alabama



Trace element concentrations in waters of 10, inland, low-salinity shrimp ponds in Alabama tended to be greater than those found in normal seawater – molybdenum, boron and silicon were exceptions. Concentrations of most trace elements varied greatly among ponds on individual sampling dates, and average concentrations based on all sampling dates in individual ponds also varied considerably. The analytical method used, digestion of water samples in nitric acid followed by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrophotometry, measured total concentrations of trace elements – free ions, hydrolysis products, ion pairs, coordination compounds (chelated forms) and particulate forms. Free ions are the toxic forms of most trace elements and the ionic concentration is much less than the total concentration of a trace element. Based on total concentrations of trace elements, it is doubtful that free-ionic concentrations of trace elements were great enough to harm shrimp. The fact that no negative correlations were noted between trace element concentrations and shrimp survival and production supports this conclusion. However, positive correlations (P < 0.05) between shrimp survival and production and increasing concentrations of zinc, cobalt and iron should be investigated further to ascertain if additions of these elements to ponds might improve shrimp performance.