|MadSci Network: Microbiology|
Your question was somewhat difficult to find answers. Most of the articles I've come across suggest that the microbes are a natural part of the environment. Check this website: http://www.acnatsci.org/erd/ea/marine_oil.html How are these organisms used all I read was that a colony is released. Is there any specific strategy? Exxon Reports Effective Use Of Bioremediation In Valdez Spill During a conference on in situ and on-site bioreclamation, Exxon senior staff scientist Roger Prince reported on the success of the use of fertilizers to remediate contamination from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Exxon used two different fertilizers in the cleanup: Customblen™, a slow- release solid fertilizer, and Inipol™, a microemulsion composed primarily of oleic acid. The use of fertilizers as a means of bioremediation provides naturally occurring organisms with sufficient nutrients to break down the oil. Customblen™ was applied to subsurface areas and Inipol™ was applied to surface areas. Results obtained indicate that the treated areas had more oil-degrading organisms than untreated areas. However, the cumulative effects of fertilizer use is still under study. Although Inipol™ contains a biodegradable solvent, it is harmful to mammals before it degrades. According to Prince, bioremediation "will probably be part of the toolbox to respond to any future spills." He concluded that the Prince William Sound cleanup effort provides "the first qualitative proof that bioremediation of oil spills really works." Environment Reporter, Vol. 23, No. 51, April 16, 1993, p. 3169. Here's another tidbit I've located. The ability of microorganisms to degrade known mixtures of PCB congeners was assessed using bacteria found in contaminated sludge or soil. Of the several strains tested, two from contaminated soil, BTL331 and BTL333, degraded compound containing 2-5 chlorine atoms, except at the 4,4' position. Hexachlorobiphenyls were not degraded by these organisms. The other microorganisms, and the fungus Phanerochaete chrosysporum, were able to degrade the more stubborn congeners. Subculturing of organisms on media containing biphenyl enhanced degradation capability. The ability of four surfactants to desorb PCBs from sand was also studied. Triton X-100 was an efficre discussed. Type II methanotrophs are especially suitable for environmental remediation of chlorinated ethylene wastes. The ability of these organisms to degrade low molecular weight halogenated hydrocarbons is linked to the synthesis of soluble methane monooxygenase, which is regulated by copper concentration and the cell mass in a growing culture. I pulled this from another article specifying a bacteria. Acinetobacter calcoaceticus RAG-1 is a marine bacteria which can utilize the hydrocarbons in oil as a source of carbon. When these bacteria are grown in a carbon minimal medium, they will breakdown hydrocarbons. RAG-1 releases an emulsan - a polysaccharide that will emulsify oil. Emulsan accumulates on RAG-1 cell surfaces as minicapsules and is released into the media as an active emulsifier as the cell growth approaches the stationary phase. The absence of a carbon nutrient source accelerates the release of emulsans. Good Luck with the research project.
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