Hormesis: A Response to Low Environmental Concentrations of Petroleum Hydrocarbons

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Science  13 Feb 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4483, pp. 705-707
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4483.705


Crab zoeae (Rhithropanopeus harrisii) were exposed to water-soluble fractions of jet fuel (JP5) for the first 5 days or for the duration of zoeal development (11 to 14 days). Short-term exposure or continuous exposure to low concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons caused no increase in mortality or changes in development rate, and increased megalopal weight was characteristic of such groups. This phenomenon, termed "hormesis," is probably a generalized aspect of environmental stress etiology but has seldom been reported as such.