April 8, 2013


Study: Oil-Eating Bacteria Mitigated Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (JASON KOEBLER, April 8, 2013, US News)

Oil-eating bacteria that are abundant in the Gulf of Mexico may have prevented the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill from being more catastrophic, according to new research discussed Monday.

According to some estimates, the spill pumped nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the course of nearly three months, but within several weeks of being plugged, many areas of the Gulf were oil free. According to University of Tennessee researcher Terry Hazen, the Gulf has a "greater-than-believed" ability to clean itself up after an oil spill. He presented his research Monday at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in New Orleans.

"The bottom line from this research may be that the Gulf of Mexico is more resilient and better able to recover from oil spills than anyone thought," Hazen said in a statement. "It shows that we may not need the kinds of heroic measures proposed after the Deepwater Horizon spill, like adding nutrients to speed up the growth of bacteria that breakdown oil, or using genetically engineered bacteria. The Gulf has a broad base of natural bacteria, and they respond to the presence of oil by multiplying quite rapidly."

Posted by at April 8, 2013 10:18 AM

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