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Chemosphere. 2007 May;67(11):2177-83. Epub 2007 Feb 20.

Effects of oil sands process-affected waters and naphthenic acids on yellow perch (Perca flavescens) and Japanese medaka (Orizias latipes) embryonic development.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont., Canada N2L 3G1. PetersL@dfo-mpo.gc.ca


Syncrude Canada Ltd. is currently developing environmentally acceptable oil sands process-affected water management methods as part of their land reclamation strategy. Surface waters of the "wet landscape" reclamation option characteristically have elevated concentrations of sodium sulphate and naphthenic acids (NAs), with low levels of PAHs. The following experiment compared early-life stage responses of yellow perch (Perca flavescens) to those of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) when exposed to Mildred Lake settling basin (MLSB) surface water and a commercial sodium naphthenate (Na-NA) standard. Perch eggs were fertilized and incubated in: 100%, 50%, 20%, 4%, 0.8%, and 0.16% dilutions of MLSB water, as well as 20, 10, 5, 2.5, and 1.25 mg/l solutions of the commercial standard. Medaka embryos were exposed to the same treatments, post-fertilization. Both species demonstrated an increase in the incidence of deformity, and a decrease in length at hatch as NA concentrations increased. MLSB surface water contained higher levels of NAs than the commercial standard, however, showed consistently higher NA threshold effect concentrations for both species. Significant differences between the MLSB water and the Na-NA standard suggest that they contain NA congeners with different toxicity, or other compounds such as PAHs. Species differences in thresholds could be explained by the difference in developmental stage in which the exposures were initiated.

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