BIODEGRADATION OF OIL SLICKS IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT

The degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons by marine bacteria was studied with the ultimate aim of using this process in the cleanup of polluting oil. Hydrocarbon-utilizing marine bacteria were isolated; their growth requirements and metabolic pathways were studied. Enzymatic and regulatory mechanisms responsible for the recalcitrance or delayed utilization of certain hydrocarbons, e.g. polynuclear aromatics and highly branched iso-alkanes were identified. The limiting factors of oil biodegradation in the marine environment were studied. Given favorable water temperatures, the rate of oil biodegradation can be increased by an order of magnitude or more by supplying mineral nutrients (N,P, Fe) to a floating oil slick in oil-soluble (oleophilic) form. This method of application prevents nutrient loss by dilution and does not trigger algal blooms. The patented procedure is considered to be a new cost-effective way to cleanup oceanic oil spills.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Rutgers University, New Brunswick

    Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology
    New Brunswick, NJ  USA  08903
  • Authors:
    • Bartha, R
  • Publication Date: 1976-11-1

Media Info

  • Pagination: 14 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00149536
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Office of Naval Research
  • Report/Paper Numbers: N00014-67-A0115-0005Final Rpt.
  • Contract Numbers: N00014-67-A0115-0005
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 13 1977 12:00AM