The aim of this study was to develop and apply a multi-biomarker system to assess the toxicological effects of produced water (PW) from a Mediterranean off-shore oil platform. The selected bioindicator organism, mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), was exposed in the laboratory to high concentrations of different PW: PW before treatment (BT), after conventional treatment (ACT) and after innovative treatment with zeolites in a prototype system (AIT). A set of biomarkers (benzo(α)pyrene monooxygenase, ethoxyresorufin-o-deethylase, vitellogenin, porphyrins, PAH bile metabolites, esterases, catalase, micronuclei) and PAH concentrations were measured in the experimental organism. The methodology proved to be appropriate and biomarker responses (CYP 1A1, PAH bile metabolites, micronuclei, esterases, porphyrins) affected by BT were less affected by ACT. PW treated with zeolites (AIT) had the lowest toxicological impact. The results obtained applying this multi-biomarker approach suggest that the system using zeolites is effective for treating produced water. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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