Studies of produced water toxicity using luminescent marine bacteria

S. Grigson, C. Cheong, E. Way

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    The main aqueous discharge from oil production platforms is produced water (PW). Produced water is contaminated with a range of pollutants including crude oil, inorganic salts, trace metals, dissolved gases, produced solids and oilfield chemical residues. Concern has been expressed on the impact these discharges, and particularly the dissolved oil component, may be having on the marine environment. In this investigation the toxicity of synthetic produced waters contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons was compared to PW samples received from the field using the luminescent marine bacterium Vibrio fisheri. The objective was to correlate toxicity to specific PW components. Initial studies of individual oil components showed that both aromatic and aliphatic compounds exhibited toxicity. Naphthalene was the most toxic aromatic compound measured and cycloheptane the most toxic aliphatic. For benzenes, toxicity increased with alkyl substitution. Synthetic PW samples, based on the composition of those obtained offshore, had lower toxicities than the field PW samples. The addition of oilfield chemicals at dosage levels used offshore increased the toxicity of the synthetic PW mixtures, but not to the original values. Removal of the oil components by solid-phase extraction reduced PW toxicity in both synthetic and real samples. The results suggest that a range of hydrocarbons, both aliphatic and aromatic, along with heavy metals and oilfield chemical residues, contribute to the toxicity of produced water. Removal of petroleum hydrocarbons significantly reduces the acute toxicity of produced water. However, differences in toxicity between real and synthetic PW samples suggest that components other than hydrocarbons, heavy metals and oilfield chemical residues, are also influencing the toxicity of the effluent.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)111-121
    Number of pages11
    JournalWIT Transactions on Biomedicine and Health
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    Event1st International Conference on Environmental Toxicology - Mykonos, Greece
    Duration: 11 Sept 200613 Sept 2006


    • Hydrocarbons
    • Luminescent marine bacteria
    • Oilfield chemicals
    • Produced water
    • Toxicity testing


    Dive into the research topics of 'Studies of produced water toxicity using luminescent marine bacteria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this