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This paper explores recent developments in microbial remediation, specifically oil-degrading bacteria, and its potential use in ocean oil spills. Marine oil spills are a growing issue worldwide, due to its hazardous impact on both public and environmental welfare. Conventional oil spill management practices are inefficient, since significant amounts of oil remain in the water post-treatment. A possibly efficient and environmentally friendly solution is bioremediation, also known as microbial remediation. Bioremediation is a form of microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR), which is a biotechnological process that utilizes microorganisms to break down organic compounds, such as oil. By use of oil degrading bacteria, bioremediation applications may prove to be a feasible method in oil spill management. In this review, a systematic approach was used to find literature that could be analyzed to find which bacterial strains and supplementations would improve bioremediation as a method for mitigating ocean oil spills. It was concluded that certain bacterial strains are effective at degrading oil, given that certain metabolic and nutrient conditions are provided. Bacterial strains capable of decontaminating marine oil spills include Mycobacterium vanbaalenii, and Alcanivorax borkumensis, and Cycloclasticus, along with several others. Algae and dispersants used in conjunction with marine bacteria enhanced oil-degradation rates. However, more studies are needed to further investigate more potential bacterial strains capable of oil-degradation, and if other supplementations oil spill recovery in oil spills.

Publication Date

Fall 11-15-2021




Bioremediation; Bacteria; Ocean; Oil Spill

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1000 KB


Faculty Mentor: Moses Karakouzian

Literature Review: Review of Recent Developments of Bioremediation Applications to Ocean Oil Spills