Gulf Oil Eating Bugs - courtesy of AP

Scientists discover new microbe dining on the Gulf oil spill

Mother Nature is pretty incredible. Just when you think mankind has taken one more step in destroying the planet Mother Nature ups the game.

Such is the case when it comes to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill courtesy of BP. As the oil from the spill spread out there was great concern over the effect of the dispersant that BP was using to break up the oil before it reached land. Another part of the problem was the creation of what scientist called deep water plumes and the damage to marine life that they could cause as they spread.

Well it turns out that there is a new microbe discovered by scientists that apparently love nothing better than a main course of oil for their dining pleasure.

A newly discovered type of oil-eating microbe is suddenly flourishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

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 in Berkeley, Calif., reported Tuesday in the online journal Sciencexpress.

“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.

[….]

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.

Source: Yahoo News

Comments