Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 19, pp 19453–19467 | Cite as

The impact of several hydraulic fracking chemicals on Nile tilapia and evaluation of the protective effects of Spirulina platensis

  • Mahmoud A. Mahmoud
  • Abeer H. Abd El-Rahim
  • Karima F. Mahrous
  • Mohamed Abdelsalam
  • Nashwa A. Abu-Aita
  • Mamdouh AfifyEmail author
Research Article


Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) chemicals are used to maximize the extraction of hard-to-reach underground energy resources. Large amounts of fracking fluid could escape to the surrounding environments, including underground and surface water resources, during the chemical mixing stage of the hydraulic fracturing water cycle due to equipment failure or human error. However, the impact of pollution resulting from operational discharges is difficult to assess in aquatic ecosystems. In this study, pathological investigations, chromosomal aberrations, DNA damage, and biochemical and hematological parameters were used to evaluate the effects of such chemicals on Nile tilapia. Chromosomal aberrations are considered very sensitive genetic markers of exposure to genotoxic chemicals and are used as indicators of DNA damage. The appearance of different types of chromosomal aberrations (gaps and breaks) due to chemical exposure was significantly reduced by treatment with spirulina. Various deleterious findings in Nile tilapia, in the current study, could attributed to the presence of fracking chemicals in the aquatic environment. However, the presence of spirulina in the diet reduced the hazards of such chemicals. In addition, cytogenetic studies in the current work revealed the importance of spirulina in ameliorating the genotoxic effects of a mixture of some chemicals used in fracking.


Hydraulic fracturing Fish pathology Cytogenetic analysis DNA fragmentation Hematology Spirulina 



The authors would like to express their gratitude to Prof. R. Tolba, director of the Department for Laboratory Animal Science, and Dr. J. Steitz and Dr. P. K. Srinivasan at the Department for Laboratory Animal Science, University Hospital, RWTH Aachen, Germany, for their continuous encouragement, valuable advice, and help in the production of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahmoud A. Mahmoud
    • 1
  • Abeer H. Abd El-Rahim
    • 2
  • Karima F. Mahrous
    • 2
  • Mohamed Abdelsalam
    • 3
  • Nashwa A. Abu-Aita
    • 4
  • Mamdouh Afify
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineCairo UniversityGizaEgypt
  2. 2.Cell Biology DepartmentNational Research CentreGizaEgypt
  3. 3.Department of Fish Diseases and Management, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineCairo UniversityGizaEgypt
  4. 4.Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineCairo UniversityGizaEgypt

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