TWO marine bacteria, isolated by
biotechnologists of the Central
Agricultural Research Institute, Port
Blair, Andamans, could prove to be
a boon in managi 'ng oil spills. The
two bacteria proved to be highly
efficient in degrading oil almost
completely in less than a month. More
than 90 per cent of oil substrates -
spilled oil, fuel oil like engine and gear
oil, burnt engine oil and xylene - were
degraded by these 'bacteria within
These bacteria produce, natural biodegradable chemicals to break down oil, which are believed to be more efficient and safer than the toxic synthetic chemicals used in emulsification (dispersing the oil phase into water) of oil during oil spills. The .whitish, gummy, insoluble substances called polymeric emulsifying agents produced by the bacteria help in the emulsification process. It was found that in the presence of the agents, emulsification was at least 25 times higher thim in samples that did not contain these substances.
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