Comments:Oil-eating microbe found in the Gulf of Mexico
|Thread title||Replies||Last modified|
|Old News?||1||16:53, 5 October 2010|
|Deepwater Horizon||2||20:55, 11 September 2010|
|Comments from feedback form - "it could have been presented i..."||0||10:46, 2 September 2010|
|Comments from feedback form - "to long didnt read."||0||03:38, 2 September 2010|
|Comments from feedback form - "Big BP bribe,that oil is still..."||0||19:41, 31 August 2010|
|Comments from feedback form - "Sound to good to be true? All ..."||1||02:32, 31 August 2010|
|Comments from feedback form - "How is a research which is mai..."||0||15:29, 30 August 2010|
|Comments from feedback form - "do I smell lies and coverups?"||0||06:58, 29 August 2010|
|Naming||1||11:29, 28 August 2010|
Seems to me that this isn't as miraculous as some people might think. Ok so we've found a new species of oil eating bacteria... but it's been known for a long time that many, many species of ocean bacteria act this way.
Most oil spills like this tend to disappear quite quickly, much quicker than we could possibly clear them up ourselves, and bacteria that eats / breaks down the oil has been known to be the cause for a long time. Sorry Greenpeace but these things actually do mostly take care of themselves.
Encouraging these bacteria that aid in the clean up is actually one of the more effective methods for cleaning up oil spills.
Not that we don't need to be careful about these things because it does take time and damage is done while the balance is being restored.
Obviously... "Major Oil Spill expected to sort itself out shortly. Don't worry!" and "Bacteria foils oil spill as usual. Nothing to read here" don't make for good news though :) And you'll never hear the government admit that all of its efforts actually play a very small and ineffective part in putting the situation right.
Well... the bit about this not being news is certainly true (many species of bacteria eat oil and (especially) natural gas, so one more is nothing spectacular), but as to the rest... that's kinda true, kinda not. First off, the bacteria only eat certain components of the oil readily, while the more difficult to digest components sit around for a long time until something gets desperate enough to eat them. Second, oil on the surface is eaten much faster than oil that's floating deep under the water at ~4 degrees C. So surface oil disappears quite quickly, while underwater oil can take quite a while. Thirdly, those bacteria only live in the water for the most part. Once the oil hits the shores, it can sit for very, very, very long periods of time (10's of thousands of years in the worst conditions, decades in good conditions).
Sorry if I missed this, but has/will this help clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?
Sound to good to be true? All of the oil is miraculously gone? Maybe that is because the Energy Biosciences Institute is primarily funded by BP.
BP estimates they captured 800,000 out of 4.9 million barrels spilled. That leaves about 4 million barrels for the microbes to eat. Do we really think bacteria have eaten 4.1 million barrels of oil? Since no one but BP is allowed to run submersible cameras underwater, how will we know whether or not it is just settling onto the bottom or being carried around the Gulf or out to sea?
I have heard from friends of mine in the gulf that: the waters reek of oil and dispersants, tar balls, sheen and oil under the sand are everywhere, it is not safe to fish or swim in spite of assurances to the contrary, and fishermen are refusing to fish because the shrimp, crabs and fish are also ingesting oil making them unsafe to eat. Although government inspectors who 'sniff' the seafood are declaring it safe.
So hey, no worries, it's all over..move along, nothing to see here folks... enjoy your cheap gas and drill baby drill!
I'm assuming the researchers haven't given this species a scientific binomial name yet?