Downwind gas condensate volatiles affect phytoplankton communities

E. Rahav, N. Belkin, X. Velasquez, G. Sisma-Ventura, T. Guy-Haim, A. Paytan, M. Rubin-Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the effects of volatile organic carbons (VOCs) evaporated from gas condensate on the cyanobacteria Synechococcus sp. WH8103, the diatom Asterionellopsis glacialis, and the dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum. We used custom algal incubation chambers enabling only the gas condensate-derived VOCs to interact with the cell cultures via an atmospheric bridge, without direct contact with the hydrocarbon oil. The exposure to gas condensate VOCs reduced the abundance, growth rate, and photosynthetic efficiency of Synechococcus sp. WH8103. Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assays hint at oxidative damage to the chloroplasts and/or the thylakoid membranes in this organism. A.glacialis abundance, physiological state and growth rates remained unchanged, whereas A.minutum abundance and photosynthetic efficiency increased relative to their respective controls. Our results demonstrate that the effects of a gas condensate formed due to an oil spill will not be restricted to the polluted area, but may be prominent in downwind locations through atmospheric transport.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115561
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Cyanobacteria
  • Diatoms
  • Dinoflagellates
  • Gas condensate
  • Hydrocarbon pollution
  • Synechococcus
  • Volatile organic carbons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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