Prediction of ecotoxicity of heavy crude oil: Contribution of measured components

Hyun Joong Kang, So Young Lee, Ji Yeon Roh, Un Hyuk Yim, Won Joon Shim, Jung-Hwan Kwon

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41 Citations (Scopus)


A prediction model for estimating the ecotoxicity of the water-accommodated fraction (WAF) and water-soluble fraction (WSF) of heavy crude oil is proposed. Iranian heavy crude oil (IHC), one of the major components of the Hebei Spirit oil spill in Korea in 2007, was used as a model crude oil for the preparation of the WAF and the WSF. Luminescence inhibition of Vibrio fischeri was chosen as the model ecotoxicity test for evaluating the baseline toxicity of aromatic hydrocarbons in the IHC. The measured concentration of each chemical species in WAF and WSF agreed well with the predicted soluble concentration calculated using Raoult's law from the measured amount in the IHC. This indicates that the toxic potential of an oil mixture can be evaluated from the dissolved concentration of each species, which in turn, may be predicted from the composition of the crude or weathered oils. In addition, the contribution of each species in the mixture to the apparent luminescence inhibition by the WAF and the WSF was assessed using a concentration-addition model. The relative contributions of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes (BTEX), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and alkylated PAHs in luminescence inhibition were estimated to be 76%, 2%, and 21%, respectively. It was further identified that C3-and C4-naphthalenes were the most important aromatic hydrocarbons responsible for baseline toxicity. This indicates that alkylated PAHs would be the major components of oil-spill residue. Further research is needed to evaluate the fate and ecotoxicity of alkylated PAHs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2962-2970
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar 4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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