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Science of the Total Environment.
Vol. 409, No: 23, 2011, Pages: 4973 - 8.

Mutagenic assessment of Prestige fuel oil spilled on the shore and submitted to field trials of bioremediation.

Sueiro RA, Garrido MJ, Araujo M.

Laboratorio de Microbioloxía, Instituto de Investigación e Análises Alimentarias, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Campus Vida, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Abstract

The mutagenicy of the slightly weathered fuel oil from the Prestige oil spill and the effects of different bioremediation products (nutrients and/or microorganisms and biodiesel) on the potential mutagenic activity of this heavy fuel oil spilled on the shore were evaluated for a period of 1 year using the Ames Salmonella assay with strains TA98, TA100, TA1535 and TA1537 in the absence and presence of exogenous metabolic activation (S9 fraction from rat liver). The in situ bioremediation experiment was performed using tiles located in the supra-littoral and intertidal zones of a beach seriously affected by the fuel oil spill. The results obtained showed the mutagenic activity of the slightly weathered fuel oil extracts at the beginning of the experiment in strain TA98 that persisted for more than 150 days in both the untreated control and treated tiles independently of the zone of the beach considered. However, after 360 days neither the control nor the treated tiles in the intertidal zone showed mutagenic activity and a weak positive response in strain TA98 was detected for the control fuel oil extracts from supra-littoral tiles. The application of biodiesel to accelerate the biodegradation of this type of fuel oil may constitute a further genotoxic hazard to the environment, since the mutagenic response achieved from the biodiesel-fuel oil mixture in the first samplings (days 0 and 30) was more potent than that obtained from the control tiles. The mutagenic activity was detected along the study with S. typhimurium TA98 in both the presence and absence of S9 microsomal fraction, but the addition of S9 fraction in the assay always increased the number of revertants induced. In general, these findings suggest that the bioremediation strategies used were not effective in eliminating the genotoxic hazard associated with this heavy fuel oil attached to rocky substrate since they did not achieve a decrease in the mutagenic response with respect to the untreated control tiles. These data also confirm that genotoxicity assays should be used to evaluate the effectiveness of bioremediation efforts associated with oil spills for a better risk assessment.

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