Traditionally, the toxic effects of petroleum have been investigated by conducting studies in the absence of ultraviolet radiation (UV). Photomediated toxicity is often not considered, and the toxic effects of an oil spill can be grossly underestimated. The toxicity of a weathered oil collected from a monitoring well at an abandoned oil field to Ceriodaphnia dubia was examined in the presence of UV. A solar simulator equipped with UVB, UVA, and cool white lamps was used to generate environmentally comparable solar radiation intensities. C. dubia were exposed to six concentrations of water accommodated fractions (WAD of weathered oil in conjunction with three levels of laboratory simulated UV (Reference = < 0.002 ??W/cm2 UVB; 3.0 ??W/cm2 UVA; Low = 0.30 ??W/cm2 UVB; 75.0 ??W/cm2 UVA; High = 2.0 ??W/cm2UVB; 340.0 ??W/cm2 UVA) and visible light. Seven day static renewal bioassays were used to characterize WAF/UV toxicity. WAF toxicity significantly (p < 0.05) increased when the organisms were exposed to WAF in the presence of UV. The photoenhanced toxicity of the WAF increased with WAF concentration within each UV regime. Relative to the reference light regime, the average number of neonates from adults exposed to 1.6 mg TPH/L decreased significantly by 20% within the low light regime, and by 60% within the high light regime. These results indicate that organisms exposed to dissolved-phase weathered oil in the presence of environmentally realistic solar radiation, exhibit 1.3-2.5 times greater sensitivity, relative to organisms exposed under traditional laboratory fluorescent lighting.
Additional publication details
Photoenhanced toxicity of a weathered oil on Ceriodaphnia dubia reproduction