Flashmag Digizine Edition Issue 96 August 2019 - Page 150


Flashmag August 2019 www.flashmag.net

Marine hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria, like Alcanivorax borkumensis, play a globally important role in bioremediation of petroleum oil contamination in marine ecosystems.

Approximately 2 to 6 million tons of crude petroleum oil enters marine environments per annum, mainly from anthropogenic sources, but also pollution from natural marine oil seepages results in considerable input of petroleum oil into the sea. Petroleum oil is highly toxic to the majority of living organisms and can be tolerated only by relatively few species. Oil pollution events are therefore serious threats to sensitive marine ecosystems and result in severe ecological perturbations.

Fortunately, a substantial proportion of the petroleum oil entering marine habitats is degraded by indigenous microorganisms. Although many marine bacteria are capable of degrading petroleum hydrocarbons, only a few of them seem to be important for petroleum

biodegradation in natural marine environments. They belong to a new taxonomic group of phylogenetically related oil-degrading γ-proteobacteria which have been isolated during the last decade from different sites all over the world. These so-called hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria so far comprise the genera Alcanivorax Cycloclasticus ,Marinobacter , Neptunomonas , Oleiphilus, Oleispira, and Thalassolituus. Among those bacteria, particularly members of the genus Alcanivorax seem to play a major role in the first steps of petroleum oil biodegradation.

They are assumed to be of global importance for removal of crude oil contamination in marine environments due to their cosmopolitan distribution.

Logically in 2010 during the oil spill in the gulf of Mexico British petroleum financed research on this domain. The April 2010 explosion at a British Petroleum oil rig resulted in millions of barrels of oil contaminating the Gulf of Mexico. Despite the drastic measures taken to prevent

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