Navigation Links
Bacteria supplemented their diet to clean up after Deep Water Horizon oil spill
Date:8/30/2013

Bacteria living in the Gulf of Mexico beaches were able to 'eat up' the contamination from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill by supplementing their diet with nitrogen, delegates at the Goldschmidt conference will be told today, Friday 30th August.

Professor Joel Kostka will tell geochemists gathered in Florence for the conference that detailed genetic analysis showed some of the bacteria thrived on a diet of oil because they were able to fix nitrogen from the air. The research -- the first to use next generation sequencing technologies to dig into the detail of how the native beach microbes are metabolising the oil over time -- could open the door to much more sophisticated clean up techniques.

"Oil is a natural product, made of decayed plants and animals, and so is similar to the normal food sources for these bacteria." explains Professor Kostka, a microbiologist from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. "But because oil is low in nutrients such as nitrogen, this can limit how fast the bacteria grow and how quickly they are able to break down the oil. Our analysis showed that some bacteria are able to solve this problem themselves -- by getting their own nitrogen from the air."

Professor Kostka worked with Professor Markus Huettel, a biogeochemist from Florida State University, to take more than 500 samples over two years from Pensacola beach in the Gulf of Mexico, starting when the Deep Water Horizon oil slick first came ashore in June 2010. By analysing every gene of every bacteria in the sample, they were able to see which bacteria were present and how they responded as the conditions on the beach changed.

The researchers looked at the prevalence of genes which encode for different types of activity -- such as nitrogen fixing or phosphorus uptake -- to identify exactly how the bacteria were degrading the oil.

"By understanding how the oil is degraded by microbes, which microbes do the work, and the impact of the surrounding environmental conditions, we can develop ways to intervene to support the natural clean-up process," says Professor Kostka. "However, we need to do this in a very measured and targeted way, to avoid long-term, unintended damage to the ecosystem. For example, in the past, nitrogen fertiliser has been sprayed onto contaminated beaches to speed up the work of the bacteria. Our analysis shows that, where bacteria can get this nitrogen naturally, such drastic intervention may not be necessary."

The genetic analysis carried out by Professor Kostka and his colleague Konstantinos Konstantinidis at Georgia Tech can show exactly how the oil-degrading bacteria are working at each part of an affected coastline, making it possible to identify which beaches are most effective at self-cleaning and target mitigation efforts -- such as offshore booms -- at the most vulnerable areas.

But not all the bacteria thrived on a diet of oil. Professor Kostka's research showed that some bacteria which play an important role in the ecosystem of the beaches experienced a sharp decline following the contamination in June 2010.

"There's a tendency to focus on the short-term, visible effects of an oil spill on the beach and assume that once the beach looks 'clean' then all is back to normal," he says. "Our analysis shows some of the invisible impact in the loss of these important microbes. We need to be aware of the long-term chronic damage both a spill -- and in some cases our attempts to deal with it -- can cause."


'/>"/>

Contact: Press Office
press@goldschmidt2013.org
39-349-238-8191
European Association of Geochemistry
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Seeing the Future: How a Revolutionary New Bacterial Screening Device Can Predict a Patient’s Future for Tooth Decay
2. Seeing the Future: How a Revolutionary New Bacterial Screening Device Can Predict a Patient’s Future for Tooth Decay
3. Bacteria in drinking water are key to keeping it clean
4. Bacteria hold the clues to trade-offs in financial investments and evolution
5. Seeing the Future: How a Revolutionary New Bacterial Screening Device Can Predict a Patient’s Future for Tooth Decay
6. Cempra Provides Guidance on the Clinical Program Required for Regulatory Approval for Solithromycin for Community-Acquired Bacterial Pneumonia (CABP)
7. Bacterial Identification System Differentiates Virulent “Big 6” E. Coli Strains in Five Hours
8. Seeing the Future: How a Revolutionary New Bacterial Screening Device Can Predict a Patient’s Future for Tooth Decay
9. Seeing the Future: How a Revolutionary New Bacterial Screening Device Can Predict a Patient’s Future for Tooth Decay
10. New 1-step process for designer bacteria
11. Acne Cream, Probiotic Action Shares News on How Some Food may Breed Acne Causing Bacteria
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2016)... Md. , June 23, 2016 A person ... from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA ... sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... --  EpiBiome , a precision microbiome engineering company, today ... from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The financing will allow ... drug development efforts, as well as purchase additional lab ... been an incredible strategic partner to us – one ... provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes Hammack , EpiBiome,s ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to identifying, ... community, has closed its Series A funding round, according ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis Fund ... to meet our current goals," stated Matthew Nunez ... to complete validation on the current projects in our ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers ... The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016 Perimeter Surveillance & Detection ... Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  The ... offers comprehensive analysis of the global Border Security ... revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. Now: ... leader in software and hardware technologies for advanced video ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of the medical imaging industry.  As such, ... to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160524/371420 ... ... ... With ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... NEW YORK , May 16, 2016   ... authentication solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded ... provides an unprecedented level of convenience and security with ... to authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):