Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Sci Technol. 2018 Mar 20;52(6):3820-3830. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06557. Epub 2018 Feb 8.

Developmental Toxicity of the Organic Fraction from Hydraulic Fracturing Flowback and Produced Waters to Early Life Stages of Zebrafish ( Danio rerio).

Author information

Department of Biological Sciences , University of Alberta , Edmonton , Alberta T6G 2E9 , Canada.
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology , University of Alberta , Edmonton , Alberta T6G 2G3 , Canada.


Hydraulic fracturing (HF) has emerged as a major recovery method of unconventional oil and gas reservoirs and concerns have been raised regarding the environmental impact of releases of Flowback and Produced Water (FPW) to aquatic ecosystems. To investigate potential effects of HF-FPW on fish embryo development, HF-FPW samples were collected from two different wells and the organic fractions were isolated from both aqueous and particle phases to eliminate the confounding effects of high salinity. Each organic extract was characterized by non-target analysis with HPLC-Orbitrap-MS, with targeted analysis for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons provided as markers of petroleum-affected water. The organic profiles differed between samples, including PAHs and alkyl PAHs, and major substances identified by non-target analysis included polyethylene glycols, alkyl ethoxylates, octylphenol ethoxylates, and other high molecular weight (C49-79) ethylene oxide polymeric material. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to various concentrations of FPW organic extracts to investigate acute (7-day) and developmental toxicity in early life stages. The acute toxicity (LD50) of the extracted FPW fractions ranged from 2.8× to 26× the original organic content. Each extracted FPW fraction significantly increased spinal malformation, pericardial edema, and delayed hatch in exposed embryos and altered the expression of a suite of target genes related to biotransformation, oxidative stress, and endocrine-mediation in developing zebrafish embryos. These results provide novel information on the variation of organic profiles and developmental toxicity among different sources and fractions of HF-FPWs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center