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    Comparison of Bacterial Luminescence and Fish Bioassay Results for Fossil-Fuel Process Waters and Phenolic Constituents

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    A number of fossil-fuel process waters and some phenolic constituents were tested in a luminescent bacterial system, and the results were compared with either static or flow-through acute bioassays with fish. Luminescence was decreased in a concentration-dependent manner after the addition of an oil shale process water. The concentration causing 50 percent inhibition of luminescence (EC50) was reproducibly determined for all the tested waters and compounds. The EC50 values for a group of fossil-fuel process waters correlated with 96-h rainbow trout flow-through median lethal concentrations (LC50s) but not with 96-h flow-through LC50s for fathead minnows. For another group of process waters, the EC50s for luminescence inhibition had a significant correlation to static 24-h LC50s with fathead minnows. Both rainbow trout and fathead minnow LC50s were lower than luminescence EC50s for the phenolic compounds. Inhibition of bacterial luminescence may be of value in predicting the toxicity of complex effluents to aquatic biota, especially when semicontinuous monitoring is required. However, in each case the bacterial bioluminescence assay should be calibrated periodically with acute bioassays using aquatic biota.


    bacterial luminescence, luminescence inhibition, toxicity testing, fathead minnows, rainbow trout, fossil-fuel process waters, oil shale retorting, phenolics, aquatic toxicology, hazard assessment

    Author Information:

    Lebsack, ME
    Research associate, Alcoholism Research and Treatment Center, Veterans Administration Hospital, Bronx, N. Y.

    Anderson, AD
    Associate professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo

    DeGraeve, GM
    Research associate and associate professor, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo.

    Bergman, HL
    Research associate and associate professor, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo.

    Committee/Subcommittee: D19.24

    DOI: 10.1520/STP34167S