Shale oil retort water is obtained by centrifuging the oil/water emulsion produced by oil shale retorting. The ciliate Tetrahymena pyriformis was exposed to retort water; 2, 1, and 0.5% initially increased motility; longer exposures decreased motility. Three, 4, and 5% all decreased motility. Cell lysis was directly related to concentration; after 24 h, population densities were 0, 10, and 25% of controls for 2, 1, and 0.5% retort water, respectively. Oxygen consumption paralleled the motility pattern: at lower concentrations it increased initially but decreased with extended exposures while at higher concentrations it decreased rapidly. The most striking cytologic alteration of cells exposed to the toxicant occurred in the membranes; alterations of mucocysts and glycogen content were also observed, but mitochondrial changes were not. Population growth was affected at much lower concentrations than the other test indices. The growth of test populations reached a plateau at values inversely related to concentration: concentrations less than 0.4% had no effect on growth rate.
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