Genotoxicity Signatures near Brine Outflows from Desalination Plants in the Levant

Amalia Rosner, Yaara Grossmark, Yaron Gertner, Claudette Rabinowitz, Eitan Reem, Baruch Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


(1) Background: Desalination is a developing industry that keeps expanding, nowadays counting >15,000 infrastructures worldwide. A byproduct of the desalination process is concentrated brine, further containing operational chemicals, including antiscalants and coagulants. Yet, the potential genotoxic impacts of the inclusive brine are inadequately studied. (2) Methods: In vitro and in vivo assays were used to test the impacts of a representative antiscalant and a coagulant. The model cnidarian Nematostella vectensis was employed to assess the impacts of the tested pollutants on animal longevity. Additionally, the genotoxicity of seawater sampled near four desalination plants was tested using the comet assay. (3) Results: In vitro analyses of the antiscalant and coagulant revealed neither genotoxic nor cytotoxic effects at environmentally relevant concentrations, but they were destructive to whole organisms (N. vectensis) at various developmental stages. Part of the seawater samples from sites near desalination plants were genotoxic, revealing ephemeral and mosaic genotoxicity. Since desalination plants are situated in highly anthropogenic-impacted areas, it is impossible at this stage to evaluate the possible contribution of the brine to overall marine genotoxicity. (4) Conclusions: Exact desalination-associated chemicals and the brine itself should be evaluated directly for potential genotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1079
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • brine
  • comet assay
  • desalination
  • desalination plant
  • genotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Biochemistry


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