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Scientists identify Deepwater Horizon Oil on shore even years later, after most has degraded
Date:6/12/2014

nes and triaromoatic steroids (TAS), specifically degraded within a few years following the Deepwater Horizon spill," said Chris Reddy, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and co-author of the paper. "These biomarkers are not as resilient as once thought and they may provide a future window into determining how much, and how quickly, these oil components may linger in the environment when exposed to air, sunlight, and the elements."

Researchers sought to determine the specific source of the biomarkers degradation. Through analysis of oil-soaked "sand patties" collected along the Gulf shore over a 28-month period, they found that most biomarker compounds were recalcitrant and could be used to identify DWH oil. Some biomarkers, however, degraded. "This knowledge is helping us improve our oil spill forensics. It is providing a foundation for better, longer-term identification techniques that account for exposure of oil to wind, waves, sunlight, and microbial degradation over long times," added Aeppli.

Aeppli, Reddy and colleague Dave Valentine from UC Santa Barbara will apply this new oil fingerprinting technique to process tens of thousands of samples collected shortly after the DWH spill.


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Contact: Darlene Crist
dtcrist@bigelow.org
207-315-1976
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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