Discriminating source of oil contamination in teleost fish, Lates calcarifer, using multivariate analysis of a suite of physiological and behavioral biomarkers
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The release of petroleum hydrocarbons into the environment from natural seeps, well blowouts, pipeline leaks, shipping accidents and deliberate tank washing poses an ongoing threat to marine ecosystems. Distinguishing the source of oil contamination in exposed biota can be relatively straightforward if samples of the oil are available but, in their absence, such discrimination in fish poses a major challenge. The use of physiological and behavioral biomarker analysis provides a useful tool to describe sub-lethal effects of toxicant exposure. In this study we describe the responses of 12 biomarkers in Lates calcarifer (Asian seabass) following a 33-day dietary exposure (1%w/w) to heavy fuel oil (HFO) and to Montara, a typical Australian medium crude oil (MCO). Principal components analysis was used to differentiate between fish exposed to HFO from those exposed to MCO. Inferences can be made about the composition of an oil from the biomarker profiles produced in exposed fish.
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