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Depletion and biodegradation of hydrocarbons in dispersions and emulsions of the Macondo 252 oil generated in an oil-on-seawater mesocosm flume basin
- Brakstad, Odd G., Daling, Per S., Faksness, Liv-G., Almås, Inger K., Vang, Siv-H., Syslak, Line, Leirvik, Frode
- Marine pollution bulletin 2014 v.84 no.1-2 pp. 125-134
- alkanes, bacteria, basins, biodegradation, boiling, boiling point, dispersions, droplet size, emulsions, evaporation, genes, oils, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, water pollution
- Physically and chemically (Corexit 9500) generated Macondo 252 oil dispersions, or emulsions (no Corexit), were prepared in an oil-on-seawater mesocosm flume basin at 30–32°C, and studies of oil compound depletion performed for up to 15days. The use of Corexit 9500 resulted in smaller median droplet size than in a physically generated dispersion. Rapid evaporation of low boiling point oil compounds (C⩽15) appeared in all the experiments. Biodegradation appeared to be an important depletion process for compounds with higher boiling points in the dispersions, but was negligible in the surface emulsions. While n-alkane biodegradation was faster in chemically than in physically dispersed oil no such differences were determined for 3- and 4-ring PAH compounds. In the oil dispersions prepared by Corexit 9500, increased cell concentrations, reduction in bacterial diversity, and a temporary abundance of bacteria containing an alkB gene were associated with oil biodegradation.