Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Toxicol Chem. 2004 Jul;23(7):1709-18.

Toxicity of oil sands to early life stages of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas).

Author information

Queen's University, Department of Biology, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6, Canada.


The present study examines the effects of exposure to oil sands on the early life stages (ELS) of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Sediments within and outside natural oil sand deposits were collected from sites along the Athabasca River (AB, Canada). The ELS toxicity tests were conducted with control water, natural oil sands, reference sediments, and oil-refining wastewater pond sediments. Eggs and larvae were exposed to 0.05 to 25.0 g sediment/L and observed for mortality, hatching, malformations, growth, and cytochrome P4501A induction as measured by immunohistochemistry. Natural bitumen and wastewater pond sediments caused significant hatching alterations and exposure-related increases in ELS mortality, malformations, and reduced size. Larval deformities included edemas, hemorrhages, and spinal malformations. Exposure to reference sediments and controls showed negligible embryo mortality and malformations and excellent larval survival. Sediment analyses using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry revealed high concentrations of alkyl-substituted polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) compared to unsubstituted PAHs in natural oil sands (220-360 microg/g) and oil-mining wastewater pond sediments (1,300 microg/g). The ELS sediment toxicity tests are rapid and sensitive bioassays that are useful in the assessment of petroleum toxicity to aquatic organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center