Comparative toxicity of Corexit® 9500, oil, and a Corexit®/oil mixture on the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin)
Given their particle feeding behavior, sessile nature, and abundance in coastal zones, bivalves are at significant risk for exposure to oil and oil dispersant following environmental disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. However, the effects of oil combined with oil dispersants on the health of oysters are not well studied. Therefore, eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) were exposed in vivo to Corexit® 9500, crude oil (high-energy water accommodated fraction; HEWAF), and a Corexit®/oil mixture (chemically-enhanced water accommodated fraction; CEWAF) to evaluate potential toxic effects on immunological (phagocytosis and respiratory burst), physiological (feeding rate), and histological endpoints. Phagocytosis was significantly increased following CEWAF exposure only. Respiratory burst was significantly decreased following Corexit® exposure, but significantly increased following exposure to the highest concentration of CEWAF. Oyster feeding rates were significantly decreased following exposure to Corexit®, HEWAF, and CEWAF, and were most sensitive to CEWAF exposure. These modulations of important immunological and physiological functions could result in serious health outcomes for oysters, such as increased parasitism and decreased growth. Our experiments showed that subtle, sub-lethal effects occurred following acute in vivo exposure to Corexit®, HEWAF, and CEWAF, though oysters were not equally sensitive to the three components. Data from this study can be used for more accurate risk assessment concerning the impact of oil and Corexit® on the health of oysters.
Jasperse, L., Levin, M., Tsantiris, K., Smolowitz, R., Perkins, C., Ward, J., & De Guise, S. (2018). Comparative toxicity of Corexit® 9500, oil, and a Corexit®/oil mixture on the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin). Aquatic Toxicology, 203, 10-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2018.07.015