Author(s): Prince RC
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Abstract Bioremediation is a promising technology for responding to marine oil spills. A majority of molecules in crude oils and refined products are biodegradable, and they will eventually leave the environment as they are consumed by microbes. Bioremediation aims to stimulate the rate of this process. Successful bioremediation efforts have so far focused on applying fertilizers to aerobic oiled shorelines to at least partially relieve the nitrogen limitation of biodegradation by indigenous microorganisms. Nevertheless, there seems to be room for improving the process by developing better fertilizers, developing surfactants to stimulate degradation, and perhaps using exogenous bacteria. There also is room to extend the application to oiled marshes and other anaerobic sediments, and perhaps to floating slicks. This review covers our present understanding of hydrocarbon degradation in the marine environment, and discusses field trials and field use of bioremediation as an important adjunct to other tools for responding to marine oil spills.
This article was published in Crit Rev Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology