New species of microbe consuming Gulf oil plume?
Washington: A new species of microbe may be consuming the oil spilled in the Gulf, says a new study.
Depending on how fast microbes consume oil, the results could be useful in helping scientists to determine what happened to the oil and how the oil could affect marine life.
In addition, the results also suggest that most of the microbes in the undersea cloud of oil are a new species that do not significantly deplete oxygen in the water as they consume the oil.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, The microbiology analysis is "very, very good," said Dr. David Valentine from University of California at Santa Barbara.
This latest research follows another look at the same plume of highly diluted oil droplets. Both groups are at the same depth, and they recorded similar, very low concentrations of key hydrocarbons.
They also both detected only a light dip in oxygen levels compared with water outside the plume. The team’s results suggest that oil degradation could occur faster than many researchers have anticipated.
Valentine cautions however that the team may have gone too far in inferring the high pace of degradation.