Water Weeds May Clean Up Oil Spills Biology Botany Environment Technology 

Water Weeds May Clean Up Oil Spills

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Oil—we use it every day, whether to power our cars or to heat our homes. Our appetite for crude oil continues to grow. This year the world is forecast to consume around 94 million barrels of oil per day (1 barrel = 159 liters or 42 gallons). Most of this oil is transported by sea, and with so much oil being transported, spillage is more likely. Not only are oil spills harmful to marine life, they are also expensive and difficult to clean up—sometimes taking years.…

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This image shows the surface oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Research, including this latest study, has identified which bacteria were most important in breaking down the oil. Andreas Teske, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Biology Environment 

Oil Spill Cleanup Secrets of Gulf Coast Bacteria

By Shayna Keyles @shaynakeyles Bacteria have played a large role in cleaning up the Gulf Coast after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, but it is just now becoming clear how helpful these microbes have been. Microbiologists sequenced DNA from native Gulf bacteria and discovered genetic properties that make some of these microbes so well suited to the job of cleaning up oil. The Smallest (and Largest) Clean-Up Crew Scientists noted the proliferation of native bacteria just weeks after the rig explosion began to leak 4.1 million barrels of…

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