Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nature Mops Up Through Natural Process Called Intrinsic Bioremediation

Date:
March 8, 2001
Source:
Office Of Naval Research
Summary:
Scientists funded by the Office of Naval Research have found there is evidence of a natural process called intrinsic bioremediation, whereby the resident bio-organisms in contaminated estuarine sediments can degrade or become a net sink for hydrocarbons and other organic pollutants, and thus may function as a filter within the ecosystem.

In harbors, waterfronts and shorelines around the world, sediments that have been contaminated by even small amounts of oil, chemicals, or other polluting substances could pose a health risk to both nature's fragile estuarine ecosystems, as well as to the rest of us. Sometimes this contamination is not even evident without testing. Traditionally, the solution has been to dredge (and place contaminated sediment in upland disposal areas where it must be further managed to prevent exposure to yet other ecological species), and presumably bring the quayside back to its pristine character. For many years, the Navy has looked at the best way to manage this contamination without disrupting an ecosystem that is fragile, but still functional.

Related Articles


Now, scientists funded by the Office of Naval Research have found there is evidence of a natural process called intrinsic bioremediation, whereby the resident bio-organisms in contaminated estuarine sediments can degrade or become a net sink for hydrocarbons and other organic pollutants, and thus may function as a filter within the ecosystem. In other words, the natural bacteria in the sediment - adapted by years of exposure to the problem - are doing a clean-up on their own. The natural bacteria metabolize (i.e. eat) the offending hydrocarbon pollutant (gas, oil, etc). Removal of the sediments that have microbiologically adapted to do this clean-up may actually increase the problem. If the dredging is done in estuaries with other industrial discharges occurring it doesn't take long for the system to again reach a contaminated state.

"What could happen," says Mike Montgomery of the Naval Research Laboratory, "is that we'd spend millions of taxpayer dollars to dredge the sediments, and end up doing more harm than good. We could create an even worse buildup of oil by removing the very elements that are solving the problem for us."

Research on this phenomenon funded by ONR and others continues in the Charleston Harbor Estuary (site of the former Charleston Navy Yard), around the Philadelphia Naval Complex Reserve Basin, San Diego Bay, and at other locations around the country. The strategy now is to learn how to identify sediments that may be undergoing intrinsic bioremediation, so that site clean-up programs can be planned accordingly.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Office Of Naval Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Office Of Naval Research. "Nature Mops Up Through Natural Process Called Intrinsic Bioremediation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010308071948.htm>.
Office Of Naval Research. (2001, March 8). Nature Mops Up Through Natural Process Called Intrinsic Bioremediation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010308071948.htm
Office Of Naval Research. "Nature Mops Up Through Natural Process Called Intrinsic Bioremediation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010308071948.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) — A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) — Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — Activists hope the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) will label killer whales endangered, allowing lawyers to sue a Miami aquarium to release an orca into the wild after 44 years. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

Buzz60 (Jan. 23, 2015) — Some &apos;healthy&apos; foods are actually fattening. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) shines a light on the sneaky foods like nuts, seeds, granola, trail mix, avocados, guacamole, olive oil, peanut butter, fruit juices and salads that are good for you...but not so much for your waistline. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins