Oil biodegradation: Interactions of artificial marine snow, clay particles, oil and Corexit.

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Biodegradation, Oil spill, Marine snow, Kaolin clay, Chemical dispersants, Corexit

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During the Deepwater Horizon (DwH) oil spill, interactions between oil, clay particles and marine snow lead to the formation of aggregates. Interactions between these components play an important, but yet not well understood, role in biodegradation of oil in the ocean water. The aim of this study is to explore the effect of these interactions on biodegradation of oil in the water. Laboratory experiments were performed, analyzing respiration and n-alkane and BTEX biodegradation in multiple conditions containing Corexit, alginate particles as marine snow, and kaolin clay. Two oil degrading bacterial pure cultures were added, Pseudomonas putida F1 and Rhodococcus qingshengii TUHH-12. Results show that the presence of alginate particles enhances oil biodegradation. The presence of Corexit alone or in combination with alginate particles and/or kaolin clay, hampers oil biodegradation. Kaolin clay and Corexit have a synergistic effect in increasing BTEX concentrations in the water and cause delay in oil biodegradation.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 125, issues 1–2, p. 186-191