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 Microbiologys 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.”
Faye Jones | alfa
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