Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Simple approach could clean up oil remaining from Exxon Valdez spill

Date:
October 1, 2010
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Traces of crude oil that linger on the shores of Alaska's Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez oil spill remain highly biodegradable, despite almost 20 years of weathering and decomposition, scientists are reporting in a new study. Their findings suggest a simple approach for further cleaning up remaining traces of the Exxon Valdez spill -- the largest in US waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon episode.

Traces of crude oil that linger on the shores of Alaska's Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez oil spill remain highly biodegradable, despite almost 20 years of weathering and decomposition, scientists are reporting in a new study.

Related Articles


Their findings, which appear in ACS' semi-monthly journal Environmental Science & Technology, suggest a simple approach for further cleaning up remaining traces of the Exxon Valdez spill -- the largest in U.S. waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon episode.

Albert D. Venosa and colleagues note that bacteria, evaporation, sunlight, and other items in Mother's Nature's clean-up kit work together to break down the oil and make it disappear. Scientists have known for years that adding nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer to oil-contaminated soil can speed the growth of bacteria that decompose, or biodegrade, oil. But it has been uncertain whether oil that has lingered in the environment for almost 20 years still is biodegradable, leaving questions on whether further clean-up efforts might be worthwhile.

The scientists collected oil-contaminated soil from different beaches in Prince William Sound and treated the samples with phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizer in the presence of excess oxygen from the air. Oil in the fertilized samples biodegraded up to twice as fast as oil in the unfertilized control samples, but significant biodegradation occurred even in the unfertilized controls.

The results showed that oxygen supply was the major bottleneck, or limiting factor, in the field that prevented further decomposition of the oil. The scientists used data from the research to postulate a simple treatment scheme that would involve applying simple nitrate salts to possibly break down the natural organic matter in the sediment. That would cause an increase in sediment porosity that would allow dissolved oxygen in seawater to penetrate to the oiled zone and create oxygen-rich conditions that might stimulate more rapid biodegradation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Albert D. Venosa, Pablo Campo, Makram T. Suidan. Biodegradability of Lingering Crude Oil 19 Years after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Environmental Science & Technology, 2010; 100831103501044 DOI: 10.1021/es101042h

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Simple approach could clean up oil remaining from Exxon Valdez spill." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100929105644.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2010, October 1). Simple approach could clean up oil remaining from Exxon Valdez spill. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100929105644.htm
American Chemical Society. "Simple approach could clean up oil remaining from Exxon Valdez spill." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100929105644.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

AFP (Apr. 18, 2015) In the Himalayan town of Lukla, excitement mingles with fear as mountaineers make their way up to Everest a year after an avalanche killed 16 guides and triggered an unprecedented shut-down of the world&apos;s highest peak. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) "Water cops" in Los Angeles remind the public about water conservation methods amid California&apos;s prolonged drought. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

AFP (Apr. 17, 2015) Scientists gathered at a European Space Agency (ESA) facility outside Rome this week for the Planetary Defence Conference 2015 to discuss how to tackle the potential threat from asteroids hitting Earth. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Five years after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, splotches of oil still dot the seafloor and wads of tarry petroleum-smelling material hide in pockets in the marshes of Barataria Bay. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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