The first case of green oysters (Crassostrea gigas) broke out along the Charting mariculture area of south-western Taiwan in January 1986. The green color was found to be due to high copper content in the oyster tissue. Since then, a long-term survey around this area shows that total dissolved copper ranges from 4·99 to 23·6 μg/liter and particulate copper ranges from 1·09 to 5·51 μg/liter in sea-water. The green oysters collected from the Erhjin Chi estuary on 26 January, 1989 gave the highest copper content, 4401 ± 79 ppm dry wt. Other green oyster cases were occasionally observed in the Hsiangsan and Anpin mariculture areas. Meanwhile, an experiment of copper accumulation in oysters was conducted at three stations (south-western Taiwan) for up to 90 days. Multiple regression analysis indicates that the food pathway may predominate in copper accumulation by green oysters. This bioaccumulation experiment shows that the total uptake of copper per oyster is an exponential function of exposure time for the first 2 weeks with an accumulation rate of 214 ppm Cu/day and then levels off. The average values of concentration factors for oysters (about 5 × 105) were very close to steady-state values under the natural conditions at each station.
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