Induction of fish biomarkers by synthetic-based drilling muds
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The study investigated the effects of chronic exposure of pink snapper (Pagrus auratus Forster), to synthetic based drilling muds (SBMs). Fish were exposed to three mud systems comprised of three different types of synthetic based fluids (SBFs): an ester (E), an isomerized olefin (IO) and linear alpha olefin (LAO). Condition factor (CF), liver somatic index (LSI), hepatic detoxification (EROD activity), biliary metabolites, DNA damage and stress proteins (HSP-70) were determined. Exposure to E caused biologically significant effects by increasing CF and LSI, and triggered biliary metabolite accumulation. While ester-based SBFs have a rapid biodegradation rate in the environment, they caused the most pronounced effects on fish health. IO induced EROD activity and biliary metabolites and LAO induced EROD activity and stress protein levels. The results demonstrate that while acute toxicity of SBMs is generally low, chronic exposure to weathering cutting piles has the potential to affect fish health. The study illustrates the advantages of the Western Australian government case-by-case approach to drilling fluid management, and highlights the importance of considering the receiving environment in the selection of SBMs.
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