Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Nothing Much Going On
Over the oil spill eating organisms is the fear that these organisms are:
- new, thus requiring a long experimental cycle?
- will spread and "eat" good oil out of vehicles or oil reserves
- or will mutate and cause unforeseen damage?
The organism I am talking about was a Pseudomonas species of bacterium. It could already subsist on crude oil, but it was given an extra metabolic pathway to allow it to consume cyclic phenols if I remember correctly. It would thus eat more of an oil spill. Since it was never allowed to be released in the wild, scientists searched for natural organisms from oil reservoirs and contaminated soils. They try to grow these natural bacteria and then spray them on oil spills. To answer your question though, crude oil is a geochemical. If the Earth makes it, life will find a way to eat it. Those organisms already exist, but they can't eat pure hydrocarbons. Nothing will grow on honey because the honey will suck the water out of it because of osmotic pressure. Similarly, nothing will grow in a refined tank of gasoline or any hydrocarbon unless that tank contains contaminants of other nutrients or water. Organisms require carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, water and other trace elements to live. This is why they spray detergents and fertilizer on oil spills to promote the growth of existing microorganisms that can eat the oil. The detergent increases the surface area of the oil allowing more microbes to eat it. As to your fear that they'd eat oil in oil reservoirs, they already do. They've found extremophiles that subsist on the crude oil in oil reservoirs. Scientists have pumped molasses into oil reservoirs in an attempt to promote the growth of these organisms in the hopes that the gas they produce will raise the reservoir pressure allowing more oil to be recovered.I also believe that jet fuel has to be treated with a fungicide to prevent the growth of some fungus or microbe that likes kerosene.(http://www.csgnetwork.com/jetfuel.html)The Germans metabolically engineered a microbe to consume modern firearm propellants. It was necessary because they had to dispose of all the leftover munitions from East Germany after the Berlin Wall came down. Since it was an industrial operation though, they were encouraged rather than discouraged. I searched Google using "microbial degradation East German munitions" and found loads of references to bioremediation of contaminated groundwater and soils. There was one paper from 2003 that used a Penicillium species to breakdown RDX. Unfortunately, I can't find any reference to the modern gunpowder eating microbe though I know it exists.
Nice meeting you here.
Then you are blessed! Everyone is on a different path spiritually. And welcome! This blog is a crude reflection of me. It's a mixture of opinions, facts, comments of what interests me in the moment. It's part science education, part spiritual, part IT, part military history, and part information security. Please look over the links to the right. I hope you find this blog useful.
"metabolically engineered a microbe to consume modern firearm propellants" sounds nifty.
Could be used as a way to bring peace or as a new weapon to give one's side the advantage.
Thanks. (May keep in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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