Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Seawater, when equilibrated with a sample of No. 2 fuel oil, becomes toxic in varying degrees to growth of representative types of microalgae, two blue-greens, a diatom, two greens, and a dinoflagellate. For a sensitive organism such as Thalassiosira pseudonana, Strain 3H, 5 ml of seawater equilibrated with fuel oil (containing 15 mg/l of organics) in 20 ml of growth medium is lethal, or roughly in the range of 40 to 400 ppb if the toxic material(s) constitute 1 to 10% water also immediately stops photosynthesis in organism 3H. For other microalgae tested e.g. 580 (a green alga) and PR-6 (a blue-green alga), similar effects on growth and photosynthesis were found, but required higher concentrations of the oil-equilibrated seawater. Water solubles from Kuwait or Southern Louisiana crude oils (when the straight crude oil was equilibrated 1:8 with seawater) were not toxic; however, specific fractions obtained by distillation did show some water-soluble toxicity. Growth experimetns in open or closed growth systems revealed that most organisms were inhibited by varying amounts of these two crude oils when in direct contact with them. Organism 580 would not grow above 5 μl of Southern Louisiana/25 ml of medium, or 10 μl of Kuwait/25 ml of medium (oil in direct contact with algae). With both the seawater equilibrated with fuel oil and the crude oils, the toxic activity is mainly localized in medium and higher boiling fractions derived from distillation cuts from these materials.
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