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Biodegradation-mediated alterations in acute toxicity of water-accommodated fraction and single crude oil components in cold seawater

Abstract

Hydrocarbon biodegradation may be slower in cold Arctic than in temperate seawater, and this will affect the toxicity time window of the hydrocarbons. In this study, the acute toxicities of water-soluble phases of 1,3-dimethylnaphthalene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and low energy water-accommodated fractions (LE-WAFs) of an evaporated (200 °C+) crude oil, were screened by a Microtox bioassay during biodegradation in cold seawater (4–5 °C). The water-solubility of fluoranthene was too low to provoke a toxic response at any time, whereas the toxicity of 1,3-dimethylnaphthalene and phenanthrene decreased over time in relation to biotransformation of these compounds. In LE-WAFs, the Microtox EC50 was associated with biodegradation of the predominant hydrocarbons (naphthalenes, 2- to 3-ring PAH), as well as with phenol degradation products. The acute toxicities of single hydrocarbons and LE-WAFs persisted for a longer period in the cold seawater than previously shown at higher seawater temperatures. These results suggest implications for fate and effects assessment of hydrocarbons after oil spills in cold environments, like the Arctic. However, further biodegradation studies using Arctic seawater and relevant species for toxicity testing are needed for confirmation.

Category

Academic article

Language

English

Affiliation

  • SINTEF Ocean / Climate and Environment

Year

2018

Published in

Chemosphere

ISSN

0045-6535

Publisher

Pergamon Press

Volume

204

Page(s)

87 - 91

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