Tag Archives: research

Heriot-Watt University: Oil-hungry bacteria could clean up the next big oil spill

Scientists at Heriot-Watt University have cracked the genetic code of the marine bacteria that helped ‘eat’ the oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, information that could aid clean-up efforts for the next major spill.

Dr Tony Gutierrez was in the US at the time of the disaster and was able to perform experiments with samples from oil-contaminated waters of the Gulf of Mexico shortly after the Deepwater Horizon spill occurred – samples that contained key species of bacteria that fed on the oil.

Experiments with the samples revealed that certain bacteria had thrived on the oil that gushed into the Gulf, by devouring the oil as a preferred food source. Continue reading