Microbes to fight oil spillage

#GS3 #Ecology #Environment


Microbes to fight oil spillage in oceans: Indian scientists devise new technology. Cleaning up of the oil spillage from the oceans without damaging the marine ecosystem is becoming an increasingly challenging task.


Grave Ecological Concern

  • A surge in oil extraction through offshore drilling that has resulted in spillage of oil — accidentally or due to negligence.
  • Industrial effluent discharge, waste burn-out and other manmade disasters polluting the marine environment are among other concerns.


Recent Findings 

  • The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) has developed an eco-friendly crude oil bioremediation mechanism technology using consortia of marine microbes wheat bran (WB) immobilized on agro-residue bacterial cells.
  • During the study, nine different hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria extracted from the ocean sediment and collected from a depth of 2,100 metres, were used.
  • It was found that complete breakdown and degradation of crude oil was achievable 
  • In marine ecosystem, hydrocarbonoclastic deep sea microbial consortium (two or more group of bacteria) plays an important role in breaking down oil in the event of a spill.
  • The microbial community serves as energetic primary degraders of complex mixture of petroleum hydrocarbons into various aldehydes, ketones and acidic metabolites.


Petroleum Product

  • Petroleum is a mixture of natural gas, condensate, and crude oil (viscous liquid mixture) consisting mainly of thousands of hydrocarbon compounds.
  • The present world crude oil production exceeds three billion tonnes a year, about half of which is transported through the sea routes.
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