Volume 88 Issue 32 | pp. 32-33
Issue Date: August 9, 2010

Microbes To The Rescue

The fate of spilled oil in the Gulf rests with the hydrocarbon-digesting microorganisms colonizing underwater plumes
Department: Science & Technology | Collection: Disaster in Gulf
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: oil spill, microbes, Gulf of Mexico, dead zone, hypoxia

Millions of gallons of oil now drift throughout the Gulf of Mexico in massive underwater plumes. Last week, scientists from the University of South Florida confirmed that this submerged oil came from BP’s leaking well more than 5,000 feet below the ocean’s surface (C&EN, Aug. 2, page 12). Over the past three months, the high pressure at the wellhead has pulverized the oil, and chemical dispersants have broken it into microscopic . . .

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