The effects of a No. 2 fuel oil and two crude oils on the growth and photosynthesis of microalgae.
Pulich, W.M., Jr.
Van Baalen, C.
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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 per liter 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% of the sample. This fuel oil- equilibrated seawater also immediately stops photosythesis in Organism 3H. Water solubles from Kuwait of 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 experiments 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. 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.