Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Natural clean-up for oil-spill soils

06.04.2005


Oil spills from tankers or simply your local garage could soon be cleaned up using specially-selected bacteria, according to research presented today (Wednesday, 06 April 2005) at the Society for General Microbiology’s 156th Meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.



Millions of gallons of crude oil and its derivates used by the plastics and chemical industries are transported vast distances around the world every day, and inevitably some of it gets spilled. Scientists from University College Dublin are studying how natural bacteria can be used to tackle these pollutants.

"We looked at soil exposed to one of the main components of diesel fuel to see whether the hundreds of different micro-organisms in the site could break down the hydrocarbon, and to find out which bacteria in the natural community were involved," says John Reynolds from the Department of Industrial Microbiology at University College Dublin. “Although we know that microbes do degrade these chemicals, we know very little about how this happens in real ecosystems. This has been because until recently, methods were not available to really analyse what happens to microbial populations actually in the soil.”


"Each gram of soil has hundreds of different species of microbes in it,” explains John Reynolds. “Using advanced DNA profiling we showed that there was a big change in the balance of different bacteria in the community during the process, which allowed us to pin-point those bugs which actively respond to the hydrocarbon.”

Conventional clean-up procedures such as incineration, used when crude oil or one of its hundreds of carbon based components is spilled, are expensive and environmentally damaging. The work by the Dublin based scientists showed that some of the constituents of diesel oil are toxic to some bacteria, but others can use it as a food, breaking it down in the process, and that then different bacteria could use the results to further destroy the pollutants.

"Potentially there are enormous benefits through understanding how natural microbial populations can be manipulated to break down pollutants," says John Reynolds. “Simply adding a degrading bug to polluted soil doesn’t work as a clean-up method. It’s the communities that matter. This information should allow us to choose a set of specific bacteria and rationally design a remediation and rescue package for any oil contaminated site in the real world.”

Faye Jones | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sgm.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>