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Whole cell bioreporter application for rapid detection and evaluation of crude oil spill in seawater caused by Dalian oil tank explosion

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Dayi Zhang
  • Aizhong Ding
  • Shuangchao Cui
  • Cheng Hu
  • Steven F. Thornton
  • Junfeng Dou
  • Yujiao Sun
  • Wei E. Huang
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Water Research
Issue number3
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)1191-1200
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Accidents involving the release of crude oil to seawater pose serious threat to human and animal health, fisheries and marine ecosystems. A whole cell bioreporter detection method, which has unique advantages for the rapid evaluation on toxicity and bioavailability, is a useful tool to provide environmental risk assessments at crude oil-contaminated sites. Acinetobacter baylyi ADPWH_alk and ADPWH_recA are chromosomally-based alkane and genotoxicity bioreporters which can be activated to express bioluminescence in the presence of alkanes and genotoxic compounds. In this study, we applied Acinetobacter ADPWH_alk and ADPWH_recA bioreporters to examine six seawater and six sediment samples around the Dalian Bay four weeks after an oil tank explosion in Dalian, China in 2010, and compared the results with samples from the same sites one year after. The results of bioreporter detection suggest that seawater and sediments from five sites (DB, NT, JSB, XHP and FJZ) four weeks after the oil-spill were contaminated by the crude oil with various extents of genotoxicity. Among these six sites, DB and NT had high oil contents and genotoxicity, and JSB had high oil content but low genotoxicity in comparison with an uncontaminated site LSF, which is located at other side of the peninsula. These three sites (DB, NT and JSB) with detectable genotoxicity are within 30 km away from the oil spill point. The far-away two sites XHP (38.1 km) and FJZ (31.1 km) were lightly contaminated with oil but no genotoxicity suggesting that they are around the contamination boundary. Bioreporter detection also indicates that all six sites were clean one year after the oil-spill as the alkane and genotoxicity were below detection limit. This study demonstrates that bioreporter detection can be used as a rapid method to estimate the scale of a crude oil spill accident and to evaluate bioavailability and genotoxicity of contaminated seawater and sediments, which are crucial to risk assessment and strategic decision-making for environmental management and clean-up. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.