A comparative assessment of contaminants in fish from four resacas of the Texas, USA-Tamaulipas, Mexico border region. Academic Article uri icon


  • A recent survey of contaminant information for the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV), Texas, has shown that little is known about contaminants and their impacts on biota of resacas (oxbows) along the US-Mexico border. In 1996, fish were collected from four resacas in the Texas-Tamaulipas border region to assess contaminant loadings and their impacts on fish and birds. Tissue residue concentrations in fish were analyzed and also compared to two histopathological bioindicators of unhealthy environmental conditions. Of the organochlorine insecticides measured, DDE was the most common and was present at relatively high concentrations (10 microg/g w/w) at some sites. DDE concentrations were nearly 20 times greater in fish from resacas in Texas than from resacas in Tamaulipas, although the limited sample sizes obtained precluded statistical comparisons. DDE concentrations in fish from the two Texas resacas were also greater than those reported in fish from nearby areas during the 1980s and 1990s. Most trace element concentrations were similar among resacas from Texas and Tamaulipas. Arsenic, however, was two to six times greater in fish from a downtown resaca in Matamoros than in fish from other resacas in Tamaulipas and Texas. The bioindicators, pigment accumulation, and macrophage aggregates (MAs), in general, reflected the contamination indicated by the tissue residues for each site. Overall, it appears that some resacas of the US-Mexico border region are contaminant sinks and could pose potential health or reproductive problems for fish and wildlife, and humans that consume fish from those sites.

published proceedings

  • Environ Int

author list (cited authors)

  • Mora, M. A., Papoulias, D., Nava, I., & Buckler, D. R.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Mora, MA||Papoulias, D||Nava, I||Buckler, DR

publication date

  • January 2001