Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: STEM Research
Bernard Singleton - Dillard University
Co-Author(s): Christian Thomas, Mark Hernandez, Jane Turner, Lewins Walter, Nichole Lathan, Donique Thorpe, Paula Ogbevoen, Joshua Daye, DeShae Alcorn, Sean Wilson, Joy Semien,Tequila Richard,Terry Johnson, Kevin McCabe, John J. Estrada, Fernando Galvez, Cruz Velasco, and Krzysztof Reiss
The British Petroleum oil Deep Water spill in the Gulf of Mexico wasthe largest maritime oil spill in history resulting in the accumulation of genotoxic substances in the air, soil, and water. This has potential far-reaching health impacts on cleanup field workers and on the populations living in the contaminated coastal areas. We have employed portable airborne particulate matter samplers (SKC Biosampler Impinger) and a genetically engineered bacterial reporter system (umuC Assay) from EBPI) to determine levels of genotoxicity of air samples collected from highly contaminated areas of coastal Louisiana including Grand Isle, Port Fourchon, and Elmer’s Island in the spring, summer and fall of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Air samples collected from a non-contaminated area, Sea Rim State Park, Texas, served as a control for background airborne genotoxic particles. In comparison to controls, air samples from the contaminated areas demonstrated 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 genotoxicity values were detected in October, which correlated with hurricane Isaac landfall in late August of 2012, about five weeks before a routine collection of fall air samples.
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 peaks 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.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation-NSF HRD-1118254
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,