However, it was not possible to determine if the first deep ocean use of oil dispersants worked as planned in breaking up and dissipating the oil. Their study, the first peer-reviewed research published on the fate of oil dispersants added to underwater ocean environments, appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Elizabeth Kujawinski and colleagues note ongoing concern about the environmental fate of the 1.4 million gallons of dispersant applied to the ocean surface and the 770,000 gallons of dispersant pumped to the mile-deep well head during the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Many studies show that dispersants added to surface oil spills prevent them from coating and harming sensitive coastal environments, but no large-scale applications of dispersants in deep water had been conducted until the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Thus, no data exists on the environmental fate of dispersants in deep water, the scientists say.
The scientists collected and analyzed seawater samples from the Gulf of Mexico for the presence of a key dispersant ingredient, called DOSS (dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate), during the active oil flow and again after the flow had ceased. They found DOSS became concentrated in the deepwater plumes of suspended oil and gas at depths of up to three-quarters of a mile and did not mix with the surface applications of dispersant. They also detected the dispersant ingredient at distances of nearly 200 miles from the well two months after deepwater dispersant applications ceased, indicating it was not rapidly biodegraded. Their data is not sufficient to resolve whether the dispersant was effective in dispersing the oil coming out of the wellhead. However, the scientists argue that the persistence of the dispersant over long distances and time periods justifies further study of the effects of chemical dispersant and oil mixture exposure.
The authors acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.ARTICLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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