The sinking of the Prestige and the resulting leakage of petroleum oil, just over a year ago, provoked a real catastrophe. A significant number of research groups were prompted to set to work to clean up the remains of this oil slick. One year after, the first results of those researches are being known. They want to use bacteria that eat petroleum oil, extracted from the proper petroleum oil.
Certain bacteria are able to feed off petroleum oil which is, in fact, full of these kinds of bacteria. So, after the disaster in 2002, researchers from two biotech companies based in the administrative capital of the Basque Country, Gasteiz, (AB and Guserbiot) began the task. They collected samples from the beaches and began searching for these microscopic beings: the aim was to find a novel method of cleaning up the coast.
First, they took the samples to the laboratory in order to observe which kind of bacteria live in the petroleum oil in its natural state. It was seen that a great number of different microorganisms, hundreds, live together. They are bacteria of all kinds: those that eat the oil rapidly, those that degrade the petroleum very slowly ... in other words, a wide variety.
It would seem that these bacteria work as a team. Some digest the big hydrocarbon molecules of oil, generating much shorter chains of carbon; other bacteria consume these shorter chains. At the termination of this teamwork, the oil has completely disappeared – only remains of water and carbon dioxide are left.
To date, methods such as these have not been tried out on our coasts. They are non- contaminant and, in the laboratory, they clean up the fuel easily. It now remains to be seen if trials on the beaches are equally positive. Also, what has had to be modified is the method by which the bacteria are able to eliminate the oil, not only from the rocks, but also from the water and to eliminate the oil accumulated under the sand. The first trials start in March to test their efficacy.
Apart from Guserbiot and AB Laboratorios de Biotecnologia S. A., also participating in the research are, Gaiker, Leia, the Cubano Oceanographic Institute and the University of Oviedo.
Jon Kepa Izaguirre Goyoaga
A&B Laboratorios de Biotecnología S.A.
Garazi Andonegi | Basque research
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...