Dispersants are often used in oil spill responses because they may mitigate the environmental impacts of the spill by moving the oil from the water surface into the water column enhancing its biodegradation.
While this process helps reduce the likelihood of oil exposure to marine wildlife such as seabirds and marine mammals, aquatic toxicity on marine communities from the dispersant and the chemically dispersed oil needs to be considered more carefully.
Scientists at Research Planning, Inc. and HDR Ecosystem Management evaluated the standard toxicity testing data used to inform dispersant decisions and published a critical review of their findings in the scientific journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in March 2014.
The authors found issues with the current practices, and lead author Adriana Bejarano notes, "Despite concerted efforts by the spill response community to propose and promote discussions on better laboratory practices, studies are still performed without consideration of such recommendations."
Laboratory tests frequently used by decision makers do not adequately replicate the conditions in the field, such as sea state and weather, nor do they necessarily consider exposure durations (short-term vs. standard exposure) and concentrations (steady concentrations vs. spiked concentrations).
Bejarano's goal was to bring to light some of the common misconceptions and challenges in existing data, and to encourage decision makers to consider data quality when making decisions on the use of dispersants.
"Data comparability is difficult because of the mixed messages coming from the scientific literature. Many believe that dispersants make oil more toxic, when in reality existing data generally do not support these claims. Being critical would be beneficial to the entire decision-making process."
Jennifer Lynch | EurekAlert!
New method opens crystal clear views of biomolecules
11.02.2016 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
Scientists from MIPT gain insights into 'forbidden' chemistry
11.02.2016 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.
The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
11.02.2016 | Life Sciences
11.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
11.02.2016 | Earth Sciences