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:3/28/2017)... ... March 28, 2017 , ... T3D ... a new orally administered treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), today announced that Dr. ... “As we seek to uniquely treat the metabolic dysfunctions inherent in Alzheimer’s disease ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... March 27, 2017 Roka Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ: ROKA), ... for the detection of foodborne pathogens,  today announced that ... Company Spring 2017 Convention on March 29 at 9:50am ET. ... Marquis. About Roka Bioscience ... Roka Bioscience is ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... Properties (NYSE: CUZ ) announced today that Amgen, ... 10-year, approximately 125,000 square-foot lease at Corporate Center, a 1,224,000 ... submarket of Tampa, FL. ... for their new location in Tampa ," ... of Cousins Properties. "Amgen is a cutting-edge global company at ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 2017 Infectex Ltd., a Russian portfolio company of Maxwell Biotech ... SQ109 added to the standard drug therapy regimen in patients with multidrug-resistant pulmonary tuberculosis ... ( USA ) and the US National Institutes of Health. ... ... Fund Logo ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:2/28/2017)... 27. Februar 2017  EyeLock LLC, ein marktführendes Unternehmen ... erstklassige biometrische Lösung zur Iris-Erkennung auf der ... LTE auf dem Mobile World Congress 2017 ... in Halle 3, Stand 3E10, vorstellen. ... Qualcomm Haven™ – eine Kombination aus Hardware, ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017  EyeLock LLC, a leader ... its elite iris biometric solution on the latest ... LTE at Mobile World Congress 2017 (February ... Booth in Hall 3, Stand 3E10. ... Qualcomm Haven™ security platform—a combination of hardware, ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... February 21, 2017 Der weltweite ... wachsen. Nach einem Gespräch mit mehr als 50 Vertretern aus ... zu überwinden gilt, um diese Prognose zu realisieren. ... ... Mobilisierung der finanziellen Mittel für die Biobank, die Implementierung ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):