Post-incident monitoring to evaluate environmental damage from shipping incidents: chemical and biological assessments.
We analyzed the hydrocarbon composition of the Prestige oil as it reached the shores, its solubility in sea water, its bioaccumulation, and the genotoxic damage associated to oil exposure, using Mytilus galloprovincialis as sentinel organism. Mussels were exposed to two oil volumetric ratios (1:500 and 2:500) for 12 days. Great concentrations of total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (TPAH) have been obtained, being in general higher in the samples from the dose of 1:500, both in sea water (55.14 vs. 41.96 microg/l) and mussel tissue (16,993.80 vs. 17,033.00 microg/kg), probably due to the great tendency of these compounds to link to particles in water. Comet assay results reflected an increase in the DNA damage associated to oil exposure, higher in the mussels exposed to the higher aqueous TPAH content. In the view of our results, the importance of the evaluation of biodisponibility, bioaccumulation and DNA damage in the assessment of the effects of xenobiotic pollutants to marine environments could be highlighted.