Oil sand process water (OSPW) contains a complex mixture of organic compounds that can be toxic to aquatic life. To develop an animal-free method for measuring the toxicity of the organic fraction of OSPW, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) eyed embryos were exposed to OSPW for 30 days. Biomimetic solid-phase microextraction (BE-SPME) was used to quantify the concentration of bioavailable organic compounds. Endpoints evaluated were mortality, development (weight, length, and yolk sac absorption), and deformities. The LC50 of the bioavailable fraction was 21.95 mM dimethyl-naphthalene (DMN). Toxicity thresholds for length and weight were 3.96 mM and 8.91 mM, respectively. Deformities were indicative of cardiovascular toxicity and included pericardial and yolk sac edema and craniofacial malformations. The EC25 for deformities was 9.53 mM DMN. Study results support the development of water quality guidelines and the use of BE-SPME as a rapid, animal-free method to assess the toxicity of OSPW.
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