Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
Microbes Ate My Oil Spill - Sierra Daily
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Contact Us

March April 2014

Read the latest issue of Sierra

« Don't Sweat the Small Stuff | Main | Slasher Pic »

Sierra Daily

Aug 24, 2010

Microbes Ate My Oil Spill

It's a B-movie plot we can all cheer: A newly discovered, fast-eating species of microbes may have devoured the Gulf of Mexico's deepwater plume of oil.

According to Terry Hazen, a microbial ecologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, light sweet Louisiana crude is easily digestible. It's as smooth, apparently, as a mint julep on a lazy summer day on the Gulf.

As if you weren't getting your fill of pretty oil-spill imagery, Hazen says that within two weeks of the capping of the Macondo well in July, the 22-mile-long deep-sea plume could no longer be detected. Instead, a phenomenon called "marine snow" indicated that microbes had been feasting on hydrocarbons.

--Reed McManus

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top