Accession Number : ADA332528

Title :   Bioremediation of Oil Spills by Whale Microbes.

Descriptive Note : Final rept. 1994-1995,

Corporate Author : OREGON STATE UNIV CORVALLIS SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE

Personal Author(s) : Craig, A. M. ; Wachenheim, Daniel

PDF Url : ADA332528

Report Date : JUN 1995

Pagination or Media Count : 3

Abstract : Baleen whale forestomach anaerobic microbes were studied for their ability to detoxify recalcitrant environmental pollutants; these include components of crude oil and some chlorinated aromatic compounds which are constituents of oil spills not biodegraded by aerobic microbes. Bowhead whales have a forestomach similar to terrestrial ruminants in which are present large numbers of diverse bacteria and protozoa and which have been shown to degrade environmental contaminants. In this study, forestomach rumen' samples were collected on two occasions on the North Slope. When incubated with anthracene and naphthalene (PAH), these pollutants were degraded in the majority of sample sets. All simple aromatic hydrocarbons (benzine, toluene, xylenes, ethylbenzene) were degraded. PCBs were biodegraded by microbes from only two of the whales. Variable results were found with picric acid, trinitrotoluene (TNT), and atrazine, and were likely due to analytical difficulties. Anaerobic forestomach bacteria of whales, alone or in relationships with other microorganisms, represent a virtually untapped source of new degrading microorganism. Whale forestomach bacteria have adapted to an ecological niche where flow rates, mixing, and catabolism occur at rapid rates. These rates and the ability to metabolize complex molecules far exceed those of aerobic sediment and soil bacteria in biodegradation of environmental pollutants.

Descriptors :   *BIODEGRADATION, *DETOXIFICATION, *MICROORGANISMS, *WHALES, *ANAEROBIC PROCESSES, CONTAMINANTS, POLLUTANTS, AROMATIC COMPOUNDS, OIL SPILLS, CATABOLISM, STOMACH, ANAEROBIC BACTERIA, PICRIC ACID.

Subject Categories : Microbiology
      Water Pollution and Control

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE