Bioremediation In Oil Spills

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INTRODUCTION A chemical reaction is the chemical change of atoms and molecules. They is are an essential part of daily life, and can be very useful for solving various problems. This essay discusses the use of bioremediation in oil spills, and the chemical processes involved. PROBLEM An oil spill is simply the release of liquid petroleum (also known as crude oil) into the environment. Large-scale oil spills are very problematic, as they as they can cause a multitude of short-term and long-term economic, social and environmental damage. Almost all of the time, major oil spills are caused by human activity, and this problem will continue to persist through history as people continue to utilize oil as a resource. An infamous example…show more content…
One of the limiting factors for biodegradation is the lack of adequate nutrients for microbes, and this can be solved by treating marine environments with the nutrients needed such as iron, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Another method is genetically engineering the microbe with higher degradation efficiency; however, this is quite unlikely as the develop meant of genetically engineered microbes (GEMs) are still limited by scientific, economic, regulatory obstacle. (“Bioremediation for Marine Oil Spills”, 1991) Compared to other physical methods such as in-situ burning - the controlled burning of oil at the place of the oil spill, or skimming - the general approach of bioremediation is much more thorough. The bacteria consumes the oil until there is no residue left, unlike the above methods that don’t completely remove the oil. With that said, bioremediation is more effective in terms of removing residual oil, but not necessarily the best primary measure. A valid statistical comparison can’t be made due to the fact that bioremediation is used along with other methods. (“Open-water Response Strategies: In-situ Burning”, 1997)(“Bioremediation for Marine Oil Spills”,…show more content…
Firstly, it causes minimal disruption to the natural environment. Other technologies such as dispersants - chemicals that are sprayed on a surface oil slick to break down the oil into smaller droplets that more readily mix with the water - contain more harmful toxins, which can concentrate leftover oil toxins in the water. This has significant negative impacts on marine life, with evidence suggesting that fish, corals, sea turtles and birds having adverse health effects, such as damaged insulating properties of seabird feathers, damaged sea turtle organs interfering with digestion, excretion and respiration, and more. The majority of the effects are still unknown and are still being studied. (National Research Council, Oil Spill Dispersants: Efficacy and Effects, 2005) Another method is in situ burning, as mentioned earlier. Though effective, this approach can cause environmental concerns - for example, in some uses of in situ burning, sunken burnt residue have smothered local benthic habitats (the habitats at the lowest level in the ocean). Unlike all these above methods, bioremediation allows for microorganisms to break down oil into simple compounds that have no threat to the environment. Secondly, bioremediation appears to have little to no effects under correct use. Although research is still continuing to study the use of bioremediation and its negative

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