Oil droplet fouling and differential toxicokinetics of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in embryos of Atlantic haddock and cod.
ABSTRACT: The impact of crude oil pollution on early life stages (ELS) of fish, including larvae and embryos, has received considerable attention in recent years. Of the organic components present in crude oil, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are considered the main class of compounds responsible for toxic effects in marine organisms. Although evidence suggests that they are more toxic, alkylated PAHs remain much less studied than their unsubstituted congeners. Recently, it was established that embryos of Atlantic haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) are particularly sensitive to dispersed crude oil, and it was hypothesized that this was caused by direct interaction with crude oil droplets, which adhered to the chorion of exposed embryos. Such a phenomenon would increase the potential for uptake of less water-soluble compounds, including alkylated PAHs. In the current study, we compared the uptake of parent and alkylated PAHs in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and haddock embryos exposed to dispersed crude oil at a range of environmentally relevant concentrations (10-600 μg oil/liter seawater). Although the species are biologically very similar, the cod chorion does not become fouled with oil droplets, even when the two species are exposed to dispersions of crude oil droplets under similar conditions. A close correlation between the degree of fouling and toxicological response (heart defects, craniofacial malformation) was observed. Oil droplet fouling in haddock led to both quantitative and qualitative differences in PAH uptake. Finally, kinetic data on a large suite of PAHs showed differential elimination, suggesting differential metabolism of unsubstituted versus alkylated compounds.
Project description:The toxicity resulting from exposure to oil droplets in marine fish embryos and larvae is still subject for debate. The most detailed studies have investigated the effects of water-dissolved components of crude oil in water accommodated fractions (WAFs) that lack bulk oil droplets. Although exposure to dissolved petroleum compounds alone is sufficient to cause the characteristic developmental toxicity of crude oil, few studies have addressed whether physical interaction with oil micro-droplets are a relevant exposure pathway for open water marine speices. Here we used controlled delivery of mechanically dispersed crude oil to expose pelagic embryos and larvae of a marine teleost, the Atlantic haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus). Haddock embryos were exposed continuously to two different concentrations of dispersed crude oil, high and low, or in pulses. By 24 hours of exposure, micro-droplets of oil were observed adhering and accumulating on the chorion, accompanied by highly elevated levels of cyp1a, a biomarker for exposure to aromatic hydrocarbons. Embryos from all treatment groups showed abnormalities representative of crude oil cardiotoxicity at hatch (5 days of exposure), such as pericardial and yolk sac edema. Compared to other species, the frequency and severity of toxic effects was higher than expected for the waterborne PAH concentrations (e.g., 100% of larvae had edema at the low treatment). These findings suggest an enhanced tissue uptake of PAHs and/or other petroleum compounds from attached oil droplets. These studies highlight a novel property of haddock embryos that leads to greater than expected impact from dispersed crude oil. Given the very limited number of marine species tested in similar exposures, the likelihood of other species with similar properties could be high. This unanticipated result therefore has implications for assessing the ecological impacts of oil spills and the use of methods for dispersing oil in the open sea.
Project description:Recent studies have shown that crude oil exposure affects cardiac development in fish by disrupting excitation-contraction (EC) coupling. We previously found that eggs of Atlantic haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) bind dispersed oil droplets, potentially leading to more profound toxic effects from uptake of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Using lower concentrations of dispersed crude oil (0.7-7??g/L ?PAH), here we exposed a broader range of developmental stages over both short and prolonged durations. We quantified effects on cardiac function and morphogenesis, characterized novel craniofacial defects, and examined the expression of genes encoding potential targets underlying cardiac and craniofacial defects. Because of oil droplet binding, a 24-hr exposure was sufficient to create severe cardiac and craniofacial abnormalities. The specific nature of the craniofacial abnormalities suggests that crude oil may target common craniofacial and cardiac precursor cells either directly or indirectly by affecting ion channels and intracellular calcium in particular. Furthermore, down-regulation of genes encoding specific components of the EC coupling machinery suggests that crude oil disrupts excitation-transcription coupling or normal feedback regulation of ion channels blocked by PAHs. These data support a unifying hypothesis whereby depletion of intracellular calcium pools by crude oil-derived PAHs disrupts several pathways critical for organogenesis in fish.
Project description:The research objective was to study the presence of DNA damages in haddock exposed to petrogenic or pyrogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from different sources: 1) extracts of oil produced water (PW), dominated by 2-ring PAHs; 2) distillation fractions of crude oil (representing oil-based drilling mud), dominated by 3-ring PAHs; 3) heavy pyrogenic PAHs, mixture of 4/5/6-ring PAHs. The biological effect of the different PAH sources was studied by feeding juvenile haddock with low doses of PAHs (0.3-0.7 mg PAH/kg fish/day) for two months, followed by a two-months recovery. In addition to the oral exposure, a group of fish was exposed to 12 single compounds of PAHs (4/5/6-ring) via intraperitoneal injection. The main endpoint was the analysis of hepatic and intestinal DNA adducts. In addition, PAH burden in liver, bile metabolites, gene and protein expression of CYP1A, GST activity, lipid peroxidation, skeletal deformities and histopathology of livers were evaluated. Juvenile haddock responded quickly to both intraperitoneal injection and oral exposure of 4/5/6-ring PAHs. High levels of DNA adducts were detected in livers three days after the dose of the single compound exposure. Fish had also high levels of DNA adducts in liver after being fed with extracts dominated by 2-ring PAHs (a PW exposure scenario) and 3-ring PAHs (simulating an oil exposure scenario). Elevated levels of DNA adducts were observed in the liver of all exposed groups after the 2 months of recovery. High levels of DNA adduct were found also in the intestines of individuals exposed to oil or heavy PAHs, but not in the PW or control groups. This suggests that the intestinal barrier is very important for detoxification of orally exposures of PAHs.
Project description:Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), derived largely from fossil fuels and their combustion, are pervasive contaminants in rivers, lakes, and nearshore marine habitats. Studies after the Exxon Valdez oil spill demonstrated that fish embryos exposed to low levels of PAHs in weathered crude oil develop a syndrome of edema and craniofacial and body axis defects. Although mechanisms leading to these defects are poorly understood, it is widely held that PAH toxicity is linked to aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) binding and cytochrome P450 1A (CYP1A) induction. Using zebrafish embryos, we show that the weathered crude oil syndrome is distinct from the well-characterized AhR-dependent effects of dioxin toxicity. Blockade of AhR pathway components with antisense morpholino oligonucleotides demonstrated that the key developmental defects induced by weathered crude oil exposure are mediated by low-molecular-weight tricyclic PAHs through AhR-independent disruption of cardiovascular function and morphogenesis. These findings have multiple implications for the assessment of PAH impacts on coastal habitats.
Project description:Exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of oil could impact survival of fish larvae in situ through subtle effects on larval behavior. During the larval period, Atlantic haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) are transported toward nursery grounds by ocean currents and active swimming, which can modify their drift route. Haddock larvae are sensitive to dispersed oil; however, whether exposure to oil during development impacts the ability of haddock larvae to swim in situ is unknown. Here, we exposed Atlantic haddock embryos to 10 and 80 ?g oil/L (0.1 and 0.8 ?g ?PAH/L) of crude oil for 8 days and used a novel approach to measure its effect on the larval swimming behavior in situ. We assessed the swimming behavior of 138 haddock larvae in situ, in the North Sea, using a transparent drifting chamber. Expression of cytochrome P4501a (cyp1a) was also measured. Exposure to 10 and 80 ?g oil/L significantly reduced the average in situ routine swimming speed by 30-40% compared to the controls. Expression of cyp1a was significantly higher in both exposed groups. This study reports key information for improving oil spill risk assessment models and presents a novel approach to study sublethal effects of pollutants on fish larvae in situ.
Project description:Crude oil spills are a worldwide ocean conservation threat. Fish are particularly vulnerable to the oiling of spawning habitats, and crude oil causes severe abnormalities in embryos and larvae. However, the underlying mechanisms for these developmental defects are not well understood. Here, we explore the transcriptional basis for four discrete crude oil injury phenotypes in the early life stages of the commercially important Atlantic haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus). These include defects in (1) cardiac form and function, (2) craniofacial development, (3) ionoregulation and fluid balance, and (4) cholesterol synthesis and homeostasis. Our findings suggest a key role for intracellular calcium cycling and excitation-transcription coupling in the dysregulation of heart and jaw morphogenesis. Moreover, the disruption of ionoregulatory pathways sheds new light on buoyancy control in marine fish embryos. Overall, our chemical-genetic approach identifies initiating events for distinct adverse outcome pathways and novel roles for individual genes in fundamental developmental processes.
Project description:To identify the bacteria that play a major role in the aerobic degradation of petroleum polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in a marine environment, bacteria were enriched from seawater by using 2-methylnaphthalene, phenanthrene, or anthracene as a carbon and energy source. We found that members of the genus Cycloclasticus became predominant in the enrichment cultures. The Cycloclasticus strains isolated in this study could grow on crude oil and degraded PAH components of crude oil, including unsubstituted and substituted naphthalenes, dibenzothiophenes, phenanthrenes, and fluorenes. To deduce the role of Cycloclasticus strains in a coastal zone oil spill, propagation of this bacterial group on oil-coated grains of gravel immersed in seawater was investigated in beach-simulating tanks that were 1 m wide by 1.5 m long by 1 m high. The tanks were two-thirds filled with gravel, and seawater was continuously introduced into the tanks; the water level was varied between 30 cm above and 30 cm below the surface of the gravel layer to simulate a 12-h tidal cycle. The number of Cycloclasticus cells associated with the grains was on the order of 10(3) cells/g of grains before crude oil was added to the tanks and increased to 3 x 10(6) cells/g of grains after crude oil was added. The number increased further after 14 days to 10(8) cells/g of grains when nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers were added, while the number remained 3 x 10(6) cells/g of grains when no fertilizers were added. PAH degradation proceeded parallel with the growth of Cycloclasticus cells on the surfaces of the oil-polluted grains of gravel. These observations suggest that bacteria belonging to the genus Cycloclasticus play an important role in the degradation of petroleum PAHs in a marine environment.
Project description:Nanostructured cellulose fabric with an air-bubble-enhanced anti-oil fouling property is introduced for quick oil-cleaning by water even with the surface fouled by oil before water contact under a dry state. It is very challenging to recover the super-hydrophilicity because once the surface is oil-fouled, it is hard to be re-wetted by water. Anti-oil-fouling under a dry state was realized through two main features of the nanostructured, porous fabric: a low solid fraction with high-aspect-ratio nanostructures significantly increasing the retracting forces, and trapped multiscale air bubbles increasing the buoyancy and backpressure for an oil-layer rupture. The nanostructures were formed on cellulose-based rayon microfibers through selective etching with oxygen plasma, forming a nanoscale open-pore structure. Viscous crude oil fouled on a fabric under a dry state was cleaned by immersion into water owing to a higher water affinity of the rayon material and low solid fraction of the high-aspect-ratio nanostructures. Air bubbles trapped in dry porous fibers and nanostructures promote oil detachment from the fouled sites. The macroscale bubbles add buoyancy on top of the oil droplets, enhancing the oil receding at the oil-water-solid interface, whereas the relatively smaller microscale bubbles induce a backpressure underneath the oil droplets. The oil-proofing fabric was used for protecting underwater conductive sensors, allowing a robot fish to swim freely in oily water.
Project description:To reduce sulfur emission from global shipping, exhaust gas cleaning systems are increasingly being installed on board commercial ships. These so-called scrubbers extract SO<sub><i>X</i></sub> by spraying water into the exhaust gas. An effluent is created which is either released directly to the sea (open-loop system) or treated to remove harmful substances before release (closed-loop system). We found severe toxic effects in the ubiquitous planktonic copepod <i>Calanus helgolandicus</i> of exposure to effluents from two closed-loop systems and one open-loop system on North Sea ships. The effluents contained high concentrations of heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), including alkylated PAHs. We observed significantly elevated mortality rates and impaired molting already in the lowest tested concentrations of each effluent: 0.04 and 0.1% closed-loop effluents and 1% open-loop effluent. These concentrations correspond to total hydrocarbon concentrations of 2.8, 2.0, and 3.8 μg L<sup>-1</sup>, respectively, and compared to previous studies on oil toxicity in copepods, scrubber effluents appear more toxic than, for example, crude oil. None of the individual PAHs or heavy metals analyzed in the effluents occurred in concentrations which could explain the high toxicity. The effluents showed unexpected alkylated PAH profiles, and we hypothesize that scrubbers act as witch's cauldrons where undesired toxic compounds form so that the high toxicity stems from compounds we know very little about.
Project description:The Deepwater Horizon disaster released more than 636 million L of crude oil into the northern Gulf of Mexico. The spill oiled upper surface water spawning habitats for many commercially and ecologically important pelagic fish species. Consequently, the developing spawn (embryos and larvae) of tunas, swordfish, and other large predators were potentially exposed to crude oil-derived polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Fish embryos are generally very sensitive to PAH-induced cardiotoxicity, and adverse changes in heart physiology and morphology can cause both acute and delayed mortality. Cardiac function is particularly important for fast-swimming pelagic predators with high aerobic demand. Offspring for these species develop rapidly at relatively high temperatures, and their vulnerability to crude oil toxicity is unknown. We assessed the impacts of field-collected Deepwater Horizon (MC252) oil samples on embryos of three pelagic fish: bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, and an amberjack. We show that environmentally realistic exposures (1-15 µg/L total PAH) cause specific dose-dependent defects in cardiac function in all three species, with circulatory disruption culminating in pericardial edema and other secondary malformations. Each species displayed an irregular atrial arrhythmia following oil exposure, indicating a highly conserved response to oil toxicity. A considerable portion of Gulf water samples collected during the spill had PAH concentrations exceeding toxicity thresholds observed here, indicating the potential for losses of pelagic fish larvae. Vulnerability assessments in other ocean habitats, including the Arctic, should focus on the developing heart of resident fish species as an exceptionally sensitive and consistent indicator of crude oil impacts.