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Publication Details

Mixture toxicity of crude oil and Corexit® 9500 to estuarine organisms

Author(s): DeLorenzo, M.E.; K.W. Chung; P.B. Key; M.H. Fulton


Publication Type: Journal Article

Journal Title: International Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering Research (IJESER)

Date of Publication: 2012

Reference Information: 3(3): 161-169

Keywords: oil; dispersant; mixture; estuarine; toxicity

Abstract: Approximately seven million liters of dispersants were applied to the oil spilled in the Deepwater Horizon event in the Gulf of Mexico. The acute toxicity of Louisiana Sweet Crude Oil to four estuarine species (fish, Fundulus heteroclitus; grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio; juvenile clam, Mercenaria mercenaria; green phytoplankton, Dunaliella tertiolecta) was determined with and without the addition of the oil dispersant, Corexit® 9500. Oil toxicity varied among the species tested, with grass shrimp being the most sensitive and fish being the least sensitive. Corexit® 9500 was most toxic to juvenile clams and least toxic to phytoplankton. The mixture of Corexit® 9500 with oil was significantly more toxic to all species tested than the oil alone, increasing oil toxicity 2-8 fold. Estuarine species may be particularly sensitive to dispersant applications given the physical restrictions of their habitat compared to open waters, thus oil spill response should consider these risks before use of dispersants near salt marsh ecosystems.