Oil spills that occur through tankers, pipelines, or other sources can be a severe bane to the environment and may even cause loss of life and limb. Furthermore, a huge amount of investment goes into fixing the damage caused by oil spills, often having adverse monetary consequences for oil manufacturers and companies. However, what may seem like a majorly crippling occurrence could be avoided with an analysis of a microscopic bacterium feeding on hydrocarbons. A team of researchers at Institut national de la recherche scientifique – INRS conducted a lab research to find that the enzymes produced by the bacteria could help in degrading petroleum-based products in water and soil. The findings of their research have inspired hopes for a better future of the oil industry.
Deploying A. Borkumensis Bacterium
Originating from the analysis of the marine bacterium called ‘A. borkumensis’, the research has come a long way in finding the core reasons behind oil spills. The bacterium is present across several sites including oceans where it keeps drifting with the currents, and multiplies in areas of high oil compound concentration. This factor gave the researchers a basis for the natural oil degradation that occurs after oil spills. However, the tremendous potential held by the bacterium to prevent oils spills was only revealed after the researchers delved deeper into the functioning of the bacterium.
Positive Test Results
Samples of purified enzymes were taken to test their effect on contaminated soil and the results showed that the degradation of hydrocarbons through these enzymes had an 80% success rate. The researchers believe that the next step is to test the net effectiveness of these enzymes in decontaminating oil sites.