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Environmentalist's Have Been Found To Have Short Memories

Posted 25 Aug 2010 at 22:34 PM by spanner

New microbe discovered eating oil spill in Gulf

What Does The Term, "Revealed Previously Unknown" Mean? Could It Be A New Species Discovered? or A Previously Known Microbe Rediscovered?

Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:32 am ET
WASHINGTON The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has revealed a previously unknown type of [COLOR=#366388 !important][COLOR=#366388 !important]oil-eating [COLOR=#366388 !important]bacteria[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR], which is suddenly flourishing. Scientists discovered the new microbe while studying the underwater dispersion of millions of gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf following the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. And the microbe works without significantly depleting oxygen in the water, researchers led by Terry Hazen at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reported Tuesday in the online journal Science Express. "Our findings, which provide the first data ever on microbial activity from a deepwater dispersed oil plume, suggest" a great potential for bacteria to help dispose of oil plumes in the deep-sea, Hazen said in a statement. Environmentalists have raised concerns about the [COLOR=#366388 !important][COLOR=#366388 !important]giant [COLOR=#366388 !important]oil [/COLOR][COLOR=#366388 !important]spill[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR] and the underwater plume of dispersed oil, particularly its potential effects on sea life. A report just last week described a 22-mile long underwater mist of tiny oil droplets. "Our findings show that the influx of oil profoundly altered the microbial community by significantly stimulating deep-sea" cold temperature bacteria that are closely related to known petroleum-degrading microbes, Hazen reported. Before the spill the microbes in the deepest parts of the Gulf were not well known and there was little carbon present in the area of cool temperatures and high pressure. "We deployed on two ships to determine the physical, chemical and microbiological properties of the deepwater oil plume," Hazen said. "The oil escaping from the damaged wellhead represented an enormous carbon input to the [COLOR=#366388 !important][COLOR=#366388 !important]water [COLOR=#366388 !important]column[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]." Their findings are based on more than 200 samples collected from 17 deepwater sites between May 25 and June 2. They found that the dominant microbe in the oil plume is a new species, closely related to members of Oceanospirillales. This microbe thrives in cold water, with temperatures in the deep recorded at 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit). Hazen suggested that the bacteria may have adapted over time due to periodic leaks and natural seeps of oil in the Gulf. Scientists also had been concerned that oil-eating activity by microbes would consume large amounts of oxygen in the water, creating a "dead zone" dangerous to other life. But the new study found that oxygen saturation outside the oil plume was 67 percent, while within the plume it was 59 percent. The research was supported by an existing grant with the [COLOR=#366388 !important][COLOR=#366388 !important]Energy [COLOR=#366388 !important]Biosciences [/COLOR][COLOR=#366388 !important]Institute[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR], a partnership led by the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Illinois that is funded by a $500 million, 10-year grant from BP. Other support came from the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Oklahoma Research Foundation.
Sciencexpress is the online edition of the journal Science.

Article: Oil-Eating Microbes Tested on Spill;EPA Calls Results In Valdez `Promising'
Environmentalist's Have Been Found To Have Short Memories, Could Be Linked To The Environment of the Environmentalists - Article date: July 8, 1989 from The Washington Post
The Exxon Valdez Wreck off the Alaskan Coastline, Search for missing Captain of the Valdez ends when agents with the FBI find him at home, waiting for them - three days later - Shipmaster Joseph Jeffery Hazelwood found at home after extensive nationwide search for him, was waiting for the FBI.

Experiments with oil-eating microbes on a beach fouled by the Exxon Valdez oil spill have achieved "very promising" early results, raising the possibility of a biological solution to at least part of the massive cleanup of Alaska's Prince William Sound, federal environmental officials announced yesterday. Hoping to foster the development of naturally occurring microorganisms with an appetite for oil, scientists treated a section of soiled cobblestone beach with special nutrients. Within days, the test plot was visibly cleaner than surrounding areas. "It's potentially some good news for Prince William Sound," said Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William K.

Microbes In Mud Flats Clean Up Oil Spill Chemicals

ScienceDaily (Apr. 5, 2009) Micro-organisms occurring naturally in coastal mudflats have an essential role to play in cleaning up pollution by breaking down petrochemical residues. Research by Dr Efe Aganbi and colleagues from the University of Essex, presented at the Society for General Microbiology's meeting at Harrogate March 30, reveals essential differences in the speed of degradation of the chemicals depending on whether or not oxygen is present. In aerobic conditions (where oxygen is present), benzene, toluene and naphthalene, which all occur in petroleum, were rapidly degraded by microbes. In the absence of oxygen degradation was slower and only toluene was significantly broken down. This means that in a healthy marine ecosystem where the water is oxygenated, petrochemical contamination can biodegraded by micro-organisms, but if the oxygen supply is depleted by pollution and other processes leading to the breakdown of organic matter in the soil, the contamination will persist. While almost all known aromatic hydrocarbons (the petroleum breakdown products) are degraded with oxygen only a few can be completely broken down in the absence of oxygen. However, in a contaminated environment oxygen is quickly depleted and anaerobic breakdown (without oxygen) becomes an important mechanism for getting rid of contaminants The scientists also investigated the impact of the three chemicals on the make-up of different estuarine microbial communities. Over time the types of micro-organisms changed as the compounds were degraded. In aerobic conditions, benzene and toluene did not appear to affect community structure but naphthalene stimulated the growth of Cycloclasticus spirillensus, a bacterium known to break down oil residues. These bacteria might be used as a natural way of cleaning up pollution. "Our work shows that microbes are very versatile and can live on most types of chemicals" said Dr Aganbi, "More work is needed to identify bacteria in these mud sediments as little is known about the range of bacteria present. Estuaries are ideal locations for refineries and petrochemical facilities it is essential that mudflats are preserved to provide a natural clean-up area for pollution."

UN board could rein in $2.7 billion carbon market
August 21, 2010
From the files of: Just Words - Just Speeches - Just Words
UNITED NATIONS An obscure U.N. board that oversees a $2.7 billion market intended to cut [COLOR=#366388 !important][COLOR=#366388 !important]heat-trapping [COLOR=#366388 !important]gases[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR] has agreed to take steps that could lead to it eventually reining in what European and U.S. environmentalists are calling a huge scam. At a meeting this week that ended Friday, the executive board of the U.N.'s Clean Development Mechanism said that five chemical plants in China would no longer qualify for funding as so-called carbon offset credits until the [COLOR=#366388 !important][COLOR=#366388 !important]environmentalists' [COLOR=#366388 !important]claims[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR] can be further investigated. The "CDM" credits have been widely used in the carbon trading markets of the European Union, Japan and other nations that signed onto the 1997 Kyoto Protocol requiring mandatory cuts in greenhouse gases. Rather than cut their own carbon emissions, industrialized nations can buy the credits which then pay developing countries to cut their greenhouse gases instead. But environmentalists say rich nations could be wasting billions of dollars on what some are calling "perverse financial incentives," because some of the largest projects funded by the U.N.-managed CDM are a golden goose for chemical makers without making meaningful cuts in emissions. The CDM executive board, based in Bonn, Germany, has asked for a decades' worth of data on the gases from those five plants in China to study whether the system was manipulated. The controversy revolves around the apparent conflict between the [COLOR=#366388 !important][COLOR=#366388 !important]Kyoto [COLOR=#366388 !important]climate [/COLOR][COLOR=#366388 !important]treaty[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR] and another U.N. treaty, the 1987 Montreal Protocol for repairing the Earth's fragile ozone layer. The money from the CDM-authorized fund goes to pay the carbon offset credits claimed by more than 20 chemical makers mostly in China and India, but also in nations such as South Korea, Argentina and Mexico. The chemical makers are paid as much as $100,000 or more for every ton they destroy of a potent greenhouse gas, [COLOR=#366388 !important][COLOR=#366388 !important]HFC-23[/COLOR][/COLOR]. The price for destroying it is based on its being 11,700 times more powerful as a climate-warming gas than carbon dioxide. But that gas is a byproduct of an ozone-friendly refrigerant, HCFC-22, which those chemical makers also are paid to produce under the U.N.'s [COLOR=#366388 !important][COLOR=#366388 !important]ozone [COLOR=#366388 !important]treaty[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]. Environmentalists say there is so much money in getting rid of HFC-23 that the chemical makers are overproducing HCFC-22 to have more of the byproduct to destroy. "The evidence is overwhelming that manufacturers are creating excess HFC-23 simply to destroy it and earn carbon credits," said Mark Roberts of the [COLOR=#366388 !important][COLOR=#366388 !important]Environmental [COLOR=#366388 !important]Investigation [/COLOR][COLOR=#366388 !important]Agency[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR], a research and advocacy group. "This is the biggest environmental scandal in history and makes an absolute mockery of international efforts to combat climate change. HCFC-22 is widely used in hair sprays, air conditioners and some refrigerators because it less damaging to the seasonal ozone hole over Antarctica than previous coolants. It has been promoted under the ozone treaty, often considered one of the world's most successful environmental treaties, as a replacement for chloroflourocarbons, or CFCs.
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