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Mar Pollut Bull. 2016 Jul 15;108(1-2):113-9. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.04.044. Epub 2016 May 4.

Chemical dispersants: Oil biodegradation friend or foe?

Author information

1
Sub-department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen University, Bornse Weilanden 9, 6708 WG Wageningen, Wageningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: shokouh.rahsepar@wur.nl.
2
Sub-department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen University, Bornse Weilanden 9, 6708 WG Wageningen, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
3
Marine Animal Ecology Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Chemical dispersants were used in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, both at the sea surface and the wellhead. Their effect on oil biodegradation is unclear, as studies showed both inhibition and enhancement. This study addresses the effect of Corexit on oil biodegradation by alkane and/or aromatic degrading bacterial culture in artificial seawater at different dispersant to oil ratios (DORs). Our results show that dispersant addition did not enhance oil biodegradation. At DOR 1:20, biodegradation was inhibited, especially when only the alkane degrading culture was present. With a combination of cultures, this inhibition was overcome after 10days. This indicates that initial inhibition of oil biodegradation can be overcome when different bacteria are present in the environment. We conclude that the observed inhibition is related to the enhanced dissolution of aromatic compounds into the water, inhibiting the alkane degrading bacteria.

KEYWORDS:

Biodegradation; Dispersant; Enhanced dissolution; Oil spill

PMID:
27156037
DOI:
10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.04.044
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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