Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Oil devoured from within by bacteria

Oil devoured from within by bacteria

A study shows that micro-organisms are able to live fully immersed in oil pockets and turn. Until now it was thought that such biochemical processes were not feasible at the interface between water and natural mineral oil.

The scientists studied bacteria and archaea Pitch Lake in La Brea, in the Caribbean. This asphalt lake contains a thick black mud, a mixture of bitumen, clay and saltwater.  © Jw2c, Wikimedia Commons

Water droplets contained in natural reservoirs of oil offer as favorable to certain microbes microhabitats reveal scientific research center German Helmholtz Zentrum M√ľnchen in an article in the journal Science.

The authors made ​​the discovery in the bitumen Pitch Lake , the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago off Venezuela. In this natural accumulation of 40 surface acres and 75 feet deep (the largest in the world), the researchers drew water samples from one to three microliters in volume.

The extraction and sequencing of the DNA they contain indicate the presence of a multitude of methane bacteria . However, the chemical composition obtained by the control microdrops bitumen mixture of distilled water differs, indicating that the bacteria of the first category actively degrade hydrocarbons.

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