Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: Pollution/Toxic Substances/Waste
Theodore Johnson - Dillard University
Co-Author(s): Bernard Singleton, Dillard University, New Orleans, LA
The British Petroleum DeepWater Oil Spill off the Coastline of Louisiana was the largest maritime oil spill in history the United States. Numerous marine animals were killed, intercoastal waterways ,and the ecosystems were severely affected. It resulted in the accumulation of genotoxic substances in the air, and water. This event took its toll on the environment and has had considerable health impacts on both human and animal populations living in the contaminated areas. The purpose of this study is to determine the presence of genotoxins in the environment in the affected area throughout fours after the spill. Portable airborne particulate matter samplers (SKC Biosampler Impinger) were used. A genetically engineered bacterial reporter system (umuC Assay) from EBPI) was used to determine levels of genotoxicity of air samples collected from highly contaminated areas on the coastline of Louisiana including Grand Isle, Port Fourchon, and Elmer’s Island. This was done in the spring, summer, and fall of 2011-2014. Air samples collected from a non-contaminated area, Sea Rim State Park, Texas, served as a control site for background airborne genotoxic particles. In comparison to controls, air samples from the contaminated areas indicated highly significant increases in genotoxicity with the highest values registered during the month of July in 2011, 2013, and 2014, in all three locations. This seasonal trend was disrupted in 2012, when the highest genotoxic values were detected in October, which correlated with hurricane Isaac landfall in late August of 2012. Our data demonstrate: (i) high levels of air genotoxicity in the monitored areas over last four years post DWH oil spill; (ii) airborne particulate genotoxicity peaked in summers and correlates with high temperatures and high humidity; and (iii) this seasonal trend was disrupted by the hurricane Isaac landfall, which further supports the concept of a continuous negative impact of the oil spill in this region influence by the weather conditions. The contaminated environment has the potential to place significant impact for years to come on the populations that live in the area. Human and animal health as well as the foods. There is a need to continue to monitor the genotoxic PM levels and the impending effects they are having in the environment.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation/HRD
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Bernard Singleton, email@example.com
Role: I participated in the collection, analyzing, and processing of the samples. I also assisted in the development of the poster and power point presentations.