ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-170921-11
Cardio-respirometry disruption in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos exposed to hydraulic fracturing flowback and produced water
Folkerts, E.J., Blewett, T.A., He, Y., Goss, G.G.
Date: 2017
Source: Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)   231(Pt 2): 1477-1487 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Goss, Greg
Keywords: Cardiac, Embryo, Hydraulic fracturing, Respiration, Toxicity, Zebrafish
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular System/drug effects*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian/drug effects*
  • Heart/drug effects
  • Heart/physiology
  • Hydraulic Fracking*
  • Larva
  • Natural Gas*
  • Waste Water/chemistry
  • Waste Water/toxicity*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical/toxicity*
  • Zebrafish/embryology
  • Zebrafish/physiology
PubMed: 28928018 Full text @ Environ. Pollut.
Hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and natural gas reserves is an increasing practice in many international energy sectors. Hydraulic fracturing flowback and produced water (FPW) is a hyper saline wastewater returned to the surface from a fractured well containing chemical species present in the initial fracturing fluid, geogenic contaminants, and potentially newly synthesized chemicals formed in the fracturing well environment. However, information on FPW toxicological mechanisms of action remain largely unknown. Both cardiotoxic and respirometric responses were explored in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos after either an acute sediment-free (FPW-SF) or raw/sediment containing (FPW-S) fraction exposure of 24 and 48 h at 2.5% and 5% dilutions. A 48 h exposure to either FPW fraction in 24-72 h post fertilization zebrafish embryos significantly increased occurrences of pericardial edema, yolk-sac edema, and tail/spine curvature. In contrast, larval heart rates significantly decreased after FPW fraction exposures. FPW-S, but not FPW-SF, at 2.5% doses significantly reduced embryonic respiration/metabolic rates (MO2), while for 5% FPW, both fractions reduced MO2. Expression of select cardiac genes were also significantly altered in each FPW exposure group, implicating a cardiovascular system compromise as the potential cause for reduced embryonic MO2. Collectively, these results support our hypothesis that organics are major contributors to cardiac and respiratory responses to FPW exposure in zebrafish embryos. Our study is the first to investigate cardiac and respiratory sub-lethal effects of FPW exposure, demonstrating that FPW effects extend beyond initial osmotic stressors and verifies the use of respirometry as a potential marker for FPW exposure.