John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Comparative effects of biological and chemical dispersants on the bioavailability and toxicity of crude oil to early life stages of marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma)

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We assessed the bioavailability and chronic toxicity of water‐accommodated fractions of crude oil (WAFs) and two dispersants plus dispersed crude oil (chemical dispersant + crude oil, CE‐WAF, and biological dispersant + crude oil, BE‐WAF) on the early life stages of marine medaka, Oryzias melastigma. Results showed that the addition of the two dispersants caused a three‐ and four‐fold increase in the concentrations of summed priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and high‐molecular‐weight PAHs with three or more benzene rings. The chemical and biological dispersants increased the bioavailability (as measured by ethoxyresorufin‐O‐dethylase activity) of crude oil 6‐fold and 3‐fold, respectively. Based on nominal concentrations, chronic toxicity (as measured by deformity) in WAFs exhibited a ten‐fold increase in CE‐WAF and three‐fold increase in BE‐WAF, respectively. When total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) was measured, the differences between WAF and CE‐WAF treatments disappeared, and CE‐WAF was approximately ten times more toxic than BE‐WAF. Compared to the chemical dispersant, the biological dispersant possibly modified the toxicity of oil hydrocarbons due to the increase in the proportion of two‐ and three‐ringed PAHs in water. The chemical and biological dispersants enhanced short‐term bioaccumulation and toxicity, through in different manners. These properties should be considered in addition to their efficacy in degrading oil when selecting oil spill management strategies. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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