The total quantitative hydrocarbon uptake varies considerably among individual biological specimens. Moreover, total uptake varies between samples of the same type of tissue taken from specimens that have undergone identical exposure conditions. Thus, the problem of determining the uptake of oil from the environment by biological organisms under controlled conditions presents a problem that, utilizing present techniques of analysis, requires a large number of specimens for time-consuming analyses. When several different types of analyses (for enzymes, fatty acids, etc.) are required to be conducted on the same tissue sample, obviously even larger amounts of material are required, and thus, pooled samples are required.
This paper presents a method for rapidly estimating the amount of oil taken up by small (0.1 g) samples of specific tissues from mullet, shrimp, and oysters that have been subjected to exposure to Empire Mix crude oil under controlled laboratory conditions. The results obtained by utilizing the liquid chromatographic (LC) method described in this paper are compared to results obtained using conventional gas chromatographic (GC) techniques. This comparison demonstrates that either method is valid for relatively large samples of tissue from mullet, shrimp, or oysters. Data from routine bioassay experiments have shown that 50% of the samples of shrimp tissue, 23% of the mullet tissue samples, and 49% of the oyster tissue samples showed the presence of oil only by the LC method. Further, this LC method for estimating oil in these organisms affords a greater amount of replications for a given quantity of biological material and affords the opportunity to conduct multiple analyses on a given tissue.