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Environmental Pollution by Hydrocarbons in Colombia and Its Impact on the Health of Aquatic Ecosystems

Abstract

Hydrocarbons are fossil fuels widely used around the world as fundamental generators of various forms of energy (Velásquez Arias 2017); these are a nonrenewable natural resource that originated from the anaerobic degradation for long periods of time of organic matter under conditions of high temperature and pressure, converting it into a natural gas, crude, and multiple derivatives, which are formed by a complex and variable mixture of organic compounds, ranging in molecular weight from methane gas to the high molecular weights of tars and bitumens (Acuña-González et al. 2004). Petroleum-derived hydrocarbons are classified into three major groups, alkanes, alkenes, and aromatics; saturated alkanes or hydrocarbons are the major constituents of petroleum-derived products (Widdel and Rabus 2001). The toxicity of petroleum hydrocarbons, both aliphatic and aromatic, is variable, but in general, those of lower molecular weight exert acute toxicity (Lawal 2017). Many polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have toxic, mutagenic, and/or carcinogenic properties. PAHs are highly lipid-soluble and therefore readily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract being rapidly distributed in a wide variety of tissues with a marked tendency to localize in body fat (Abdel-Shafy and Mansour 2016). One of the undesired characteristics of oil production is the possibility that in its extraction, contamination is generated in water and soils due to constant accidental or provoked spills, which are very common in producing countries (Zabbey and Olsson 2017).

Keywords

  • Fish
  • Microalgae
  • Produced water
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Toxicity

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Change history

  • 14 May 2020

    The original version of the book was inadvertently published without updating the following corrections. These are corrected now.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are very grateful to the colleagues of the research group BioTox from the University of the Llanos, Villavicencio, Colombia for their support during the experimental work done during the studies, especially to Ivonne Calderón-Delgado and Diego Mora-Solarte. The studies presented here were supported by several projects funded by the Dirección General de investigaciones at the Universidad de los Llanos.

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Correspondence to Yohana M. Velasco-Santamaría .

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Velasco-Santamaría, Y.M., Corredor-Santamaría, W., Torres-Tabares, A. (2019). Environmental Pollution by Hydrocarbons in Colombia and Its Impact on the Health of Aquatic Ecosystems. In: Gómez-Oliván, L. (eds) Pollution of Water Bodies in Latin America. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-27296-8_13

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