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Comparison of two field systems for determination of crude oil biodegradation in cold seawater

New publication by Hendrik Langeloh, Charles W. Greer, Leendert Vergeynst, Sigrid Hakvåg, Ida B. Øverjordet, Ingrid Bakke, Lisbet Sørensen, Odd G. Braktad


Marine oil spills have devastating environmental impacts and extrapolation of experimental fate and impact data from the lab to the field remains challenging due to the lack of comparable field data. In this work we compared two field systems used to study in situ oil depletion with emphasis on biodegradation and associated microbial communities. The systems were based on (i) oil impregnated clay beads and (ii) hydrophobic Fluortex adsorbents coated with thin oil films. The bacterial communities associated with the two systems displayed similar compositions of dominant bacterial taxa. Initial abundances of Oceanospirillales were observed in both systems with later emergences of Flavobacteriales, Alteromonadales and Rhodobacterales. Depletion of oil compounds was significantly faster in the Fluortex system and most likely related to the greater bioavailability of oil compounds as compared to the clay bead system.