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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

Aspects of petroleum hydrocarbon metabolism in marine animals

  • O. G. Mironov1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen33:BF02414754


Studies on hydrocarbon composition of Black Sea musselsMytilus galloprovincialis sampled from different habitats indicate that the quantity and composition of hydrocarbons distributed in the molluscs depend on season and sea-water quality. The data obtained under experimental conditions testify to the possibility of hydrocarbon concentration in mussel tissues after death. During filtration in sea water containing oil and oil products, these pollutants are bound into faeces and pseudofaeces which contain a greater percentage of aromatic compounds than the oil initially present in sea water. Quantitative data are presented on hydrocarbon changes in mussel excretory products during transfer from oil-polluted to clean sea water. When Black Sea crabsEriphia verrucosa are fed with mussels containing fuel-oil components accumulated from sea water, the pollutants concentrate in the whole body of the crab. This is in contrast to parenteral oil uptake, which leads to a concentration of most of the hydrocarbon in the muscles.