Fast preparation of the seawater accommodated fraction of heavy fuel oil by sonication

Saioa Elordui-Zapatarietxe, Joan Albaigés, Antoni Rosell-Melé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The seawater accommodated fraction (SWAF) of oil is widely used for the assessment of its toxicity. However, its preparation in the laboratory is time consuming, and results from different authors are difficult to compare as preparation methods vary. Here we describe a simple and fast set up, using sonication, to produce reproducible SWAF in the laboratory. The system was tested on heavy fuel oil placed on seawater at different salinity and temperature conditions. Maximum dissolution of the oil was achieved after 24 h, independently of both seawater salinity and temperature. Our findings are discussed in relation to the fate of the oil from the deep spill of the Prestige tanker. Changes in temperature in the open ocean are bound to have larger impact in the concentration of the SWAF than the corresponding values of sea water salinity. We anticipate that in this type of incident the highest SWAF, as the oil reaches the sea surface, should be expected in the warmest and less saline waters of the water column. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1811-1816
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Fuel oil
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Seawater accommodated fraction
  • Sonication


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