Hazard assessment of a simulated oil spill on intertidal areas of the St. Lawrence River with SPMD-TOX

Environmental Toxicology
By: , and 



Phytoremediation in a simulated crude oil spill was studied with a “minimalistic” approach. The SPMD-TOX paradigm—a miniature passive sorptive device to collect and concentrate chemicals and microscale tests to detect toxicity—was used to monitor over time the bioavailability and potential toxicity of an oil spill. A simulated crude oil spill was initiated on an intertidal freshwater grass-wetland along the St. Lawrence River southwest of Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Several phytoremediation treatments were investigated; to dissipate and ameliorate the spill, treatments included nutrient amendments with inorganic nitrogen sources (ammonium nitrate and sodium nitrate) and phosphate (super triple phosphate) with and without cut plants, with natural attenuation (no phytoremedial treatment) as a control. Sequestered oil residues were bioavailable in all oil-treated plots in Weeks 1 and 2. Interestingly, the samples were colored and fluoresced under ultraviolet light. In addition, microscale tests showed that sequestered residues were acutely toxic and genotoxic, as well as that they induced hepatic P450enzymes. Analysis of these data suggested that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were among the bioavailable residues sequestered. In addition, these findings suggested that the toxic bioavailable fractions of the oil spill and degradation products dissipated rapidly over time because after the second week the water column contained no oil or detectable degradation products in this riverine intertidal wetland. SPMD-TOX revealed no evidence of bioavailable oil products in Weeks 4, 6, 8, and 12. All phytoremediation efforts appeared to be ineffective in changing either the dissipation rate or the ability to ameliorate the oil toxicity. SPMD-TOX analysis of the water columns from these riverine experimental plots profiled the occurrence, dissipation, and influence of phytoremediation on the bioavailability and toxicity of oil products (parent or degradation products).

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Hazard assessment of a simulated oil spill on intertidal areas of the St. Lawrence River with SPMD-TOX
Series title Environmental Toxicology
DOI 10.1002/tox.20022
Volume 19
Issue 4
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 7 p.
First page 329
Last page 335
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