• 2 minutes CV19: New York 21% infection rate + 40% Existing T-Cell immunity = 61% = Herd Immunity ?
  • 4 minutes Is The Three Gorges Dam on the Brink of Collapse?
  • 7 minutes Sources confirm Trump to sign two new Executive orders.
  • 4 hours In a Nutshell...
  • 2 days No More Love: Kanye West Breaks With Trump, Claims 2020 Run Is Not A Stunt
  • 21 hours Better Days Are (Not) Coming: Fed Officials Suggest U.S. Recovery May Be Stalling
  • 2 days The Coal Industry May Never Recover From The Pandemic
  • 3 mins Is the oil & gas industry on the way out?
  • 2 days A Real Reality Check on "Green Hydrogen"
  • 3 days Why Oil could hit $100
  • 1 day Where is Alberta, Canada headed?
  • 1 day Putin Paid Militants to Kill US Troops
  • 3 days Why Wind is pitiful for most regions on earth
  • 2 days During March, April, May the states with the highest infections/deaths were NY, NJ, Ma. . . . . Today (June) the three have the best numbers. How ? Herd immunity ?
The Oil Eating Bacteria That Can Clean Up Crude Spills

The Oil Eating Bacteria That Can Clean Up Crude Spills

Scientists have discovered a rod-shaped…

BP To Take Final Hit On 2010 Disaster

BP To Take Final Hit On 2010 Disaster

British Petroleum is set to…

Chinese Scientists Find New Way To Clean Up Oil Spills

Chinese Scientists Find New Way To Clean Up Oil Spills

Chinese scientists have invented a…

Environmental News Network

Environmental News Network

The Environmental News Network (ENN) is one of the oldest, and most unbiased sources of online environmental news on the web. ENN has consistently earned…

More Info

Premium Content

Microbes Dissolving the Oil Spill Much Faster Than Anticipated

What is the real story about the "missing oil"?

One study shows that most of the oil is gone, while another shows that there is still a whole lot of it in a mid-depth plume not visible from the surface. The answer might have been found in research announced today by Lawrence Berkeley Lab of the US Department of Energy. They found the plume alright, but they also found that microbial activity, spearheaded by a new and unclassified species, degrades oil much faster than anticipated. This degradation appears to take place without a significant level of oxygen depletion.

The study notes "Our findings show that the influx of oil profoundly altered the microbial community by significantly stimulating deep-sea psychrophilic (cold temperature) gamma-proteobacteria that are closely related to known petroleum-degrading microbes," says Terry Hazen, a microbial ecologist with Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division and principal investigator with the Energy Biosciences Institute, who led this study. "This enrichment of psychrophilic petroleum degraders with their rapid oil biodegradation rates appears to be one of the major mechanisms behind the rapid decline of the deepwater dispersed oil plume that has been observed."

Hazen notes that "Our findings, which provide the first data ever on microbial activity from a deepwater dispersed oil plume, suggest that a great potential for intrinsic bioremediation of oil plumes exists in the deep-sea," Hazen says. "These findings also show that psychrophilic oil-degrading microbial populations and their associated microbial communities play a significant role in controlling the ultimate fates and consequences of deep-sea oil plumes in the Gulf of Mexico."

There is much we don't know about nature's ability to repair itself. Can we count on microbes to save us when then next environmental crisis arises, maybe, maybe not.
Berkeley Lab researchers collected more than 200 samples from 17 deepwater sites around the damaged BP wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico between May 25 and June 2, 2010. (Image from Terry Hazen group)

By. Roger Greenway of ENN.com


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage





Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News