|MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology|
Crude oil is the product of millenia of physical and probably, microbial action. As such, it is resistant to most chemical modifications. The most common reactions are combustion and, much more slowly, microbial action. Even chemical oxidation of paraffins is usually slow and incomplete. To enhance microbial action, dispersants are used, but there is question even here whether the dispersed hydeocarbons are really destroyed or merely made less obvious. Some components of crude oil (such as olefins) may be more susceptable to chemical or microbial action but even here, actions are slow and incomplete. J. R. D. McCormick
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