The number of oil tanker accidents is increasing the amount of oil transported on the seas

The number of oil tanker accidents is increasing the amount of oil transported on the seas. A way to lessen the effects of oil spills is bioremediation. Bioremediation is a process by which chemical substances are degraded by bacteria and other microorganisms. The use of these microorganisms has been successfully applied for the treatment of waste and wastewater in controlled systems. Several research studies have recently been performed to investigate the use of bioremediation for oil-spill cleanup in seawater, freshwater, and terrestrial areas. The technique has been found to have a potential for broad applications in terrestrial and freshwater environments for treating soils and sediments contaminated with oil and other substances, as well as for coastal environments impacted by oil spills. Water is a more sensitive medium than soil and requires different remediation techniques. Spills to surface water are easier to clean up than spills to groundwater, for obvious reasons. It is not only much harder to see the extent of the contamination but also to remove the source of the contamination as, for example, a leaking underground storage tank.
This paper will focus on the use of bioremediation for marine (surface water) oil spills. Part II will briefly describe the development of bioremediation techniques. Part III will explain the biological and chemical processes of bioremediation, while Part IV will have a look at a few recent applications of this technique after major oil spills and evaluate their effectiveness. Part V will draw a conclusion.


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