You are here:
EFFECTIVENESS AND SAFETY OF STRATEGIES FOR OIL SPILL BIOREMEDIATION: POTENTIAL AND LIMITATION, LABORATORY TO FIELD (RESEARCH BRIEF)
Lepo, J. E. AND C R. Cripe. EFFECTIVENESS AND SAFETY OF STRATEGIES FOR OIL SPILL BIOREMEDIATION: POTENTIAL AND LIMITATION, LABORATORY TO FIELD (RESEARCH BRIEF). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research, Gulf Ecology Division, Gulf Breeze, FL, EPA/600/S-97/008, 1998.
During the development of CBA protocols, factors were identified that limit oil degradation effectiveness, and approaches were developed to better assess CBA efficacy and safety. This project summarizes the results of research to address these questions. The studies have been grouped into four broad categories: factors that affect or limit bioremediation efficacy, @ Printedon RecycledPaper environmental safety endpoints, microbial ecology of oil spill habitats, and field assessments of bioremediation.
Several important additional research efforts were identified during the development of test systems and protocols for assessing the effectiveness and environmental safety of oil spill commercial bioremediation agents (CBAs). Research that examined CBA efficacy issues included: (1) development of oil degrading microbial assemblages for use as positive controls or indigenous microbial flora, (2) assessment of the effect of oil quantity on extent of oil biodegradation, (3) investigation of an apparent anomaly in relative susceptibility of classes of hydrocarbons to biodegradation, and (4) evaluation of the effect of emulsification on oil biodegradation. Environmental safety research explored the use of toxicological endpoints as an alternative to analytical chemical endpoints in addition to techniques for investigating the toxicity of oil water soluble fractions. Molecular microbiological research developed tools to study the microbial ecology of oil spill habitats, to detect potential indicators of oil/CBA effects on key ecological processes, such as nitrogen fixation in the rhizosphere, as well as enumerate indigenous microorganisms important for bioremediation efficacy (i.e., hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria). Finally, a field study allowed assessment of oil biodegradation efficacy in a more realistic context without the contraints of laboratory test systems.