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Title: Marine Oil Biodegradation

Crude oil has been part of the marine environment for millions of years, and microbes that use its rich source of energy and carbon are found in seawater, sediments and shorelines from the tropics to the polar regions. Catastrophic oil spills stimulate these organisms to ‘bloom’ in a reproducible fashion, and although oil does not provide bioavailable nitrogen, phosphorus or iron, there are enough of these nutrients in the sea that when dispersed oil droplets dilute to low concentrations these low levels are adequate for microbial growth. Most of the hydrocarbons in dispersed oil are degraded in aerobic marine waters with a half-life of days to months. In contrast, oil that reaches shorelines is likely to be too concentrated, have lower levels of nutrients, and have a far longer residence time in the environment. Oil that becomes entrained in anaerobic sediments is also likely to have a long residence time, although it too will eventually be biodegraded. Thus, data that encompass everything from the ecosystem to the molecular level are needed for understanding the complicated process of petroleum biodegradation in marine environments.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Biosciences Div.; Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Inst. for Secure and Sustainable Environment
  2. ExxonMobil Biomed Sci Inc., Annandale, NJ (United States)
  3. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Science and Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 50; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-936X
Publisher:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 02 PETROLEUM
OSTI Identifier:
1336597