Have you seen the reports about an oil-eating microbe that scientists have found ‘flourishing’ in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil rig explosion?
Terry Hazen, researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, reported the finding in the online journal Sciencexpress. He says
“Our findings, which provide the first data ever on microbial activity from a deepwater dispersed oil plume, suggest a great potential for bacteria to help dispose of oil plumes in the deep-sea..
The influx of oil profoundly altered the microbial community by significantly stimulating deep-sea cold temperature bacteria that are closely related to known petroleum-degrading microbes..”
The findings are based on more than 200 samples collected from 17 deepwater sites between May 25 and June 2. They found that the dominant microbe in the oil plume is a new species, closely related to members of Oceanospirillales.
This microbe thrives in cold water, with temperatures in the deep recorded at 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit).
Terry Hazen suggests the bacteria may have adapted over time due to periodic leaks and natural seeps of oil in the Gulf.
SOME CONCERNS ALLAYED
Scientists had been concerned that oil-eating activity by microbes would consume large amounts of oxygen in the water, creating a ‘dead zone’ dangerous to other life. But the new study finds that oxygen saturation outside the oil plume was 67-percent while within the plume it was 59-percent.
The research was supported by an existing grant with the Energy Biosciences Institute, a partnership led by the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Illinois that is funded by a $500 million, 10-year grant from BP. Other support came from the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Oklahoma Research Foundation.
Fascinating to see Mother Nature at work..but YES, there IS a conspiracy theory!