Date of Award

Winter 1982

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


An analysis was conducted on the genotoxic effects of water soluble fractions (WSF) of Venezuelan crude and No. 2 fuel oil on the chromosomes of smooth flounder (Liposetta putnami) gill cells.

Both static and flow-through in-lab exposures were used to determine the effects of long-term low-level WSF exposure (7%, 4%, and 2% WSF) on adult L. putnami. The long-term exposures were of 96 and 99 days for the No. 2 fuel and crude static systems respectively, and 137 days for the flow-through systems. Chromosome aberrations scored include: fragments, chromatid deletions, complex rearrangements, rings, and translocations. Chromosome count variations were also analyzed. Water samples were examined for hydrocarbon content with fluorescent spectroscopy.

Of the long-term exposures, significant increases in chromosome breakage occurred in the No. 2 fuel static experiment. The crude static and flow-through exposures resulted in a less dramatic, but significant increase in chromosome fragments.

Additionally, a short-term exposure to 7% WSFs of both oil types proved significantly (P (LESSTHEQ) 0.01) more toxic (via larval mortality) than 0, 2, and 4% WSF to L. putnami sac fry when exposed for 10 days.

It is hypothesized that the smooth flounder possesses an active mixed function oxidase enzyme system which may transform certain hydrocarbons into active mutagenic forms, and also may depurate hydrocarbons. The studies reported here are the first known to directly address the impacts of WSFs of oil upon the chromosome morphology of a marine species.