This paper was prepared for the Second Biennial Symposium on Environmental Conservation presented by the Evangeline Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, to be held in Lafayette, La., Nov. 13–14, 1972. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied. The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper is presented. Publication elsewhere after publication in the JOURNAL paper is presented. Publication elsewhere after publication in the JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY or the SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL is usually granted upon request to the Editor of the appropriate journal provided agreement to give proper credit is made. provided agreement to give proper credit is made. Discussion of this paper is invited. Three copies of any discussion should be sent to the Society of Petroleum Engineers office. Such discussion may be presented at the above meeting and, with the paper, may be considered for publication in one of the two SPE magazines.

Abstract

Mixed populations of petroleum oxidizing bacteria were isolated from a variety of natural environments. Mixed populations were evaluated for hydrocarbon oxidizing capability (in vitro).

In vitro studies employing a nutrient salts enriched seawater indicated utilization of saturated paraffins. n-Paraffins from C-10 to C-30, pristane and phytane were utilized.

Experiments with large tanks designed to simulate aspects of the environment revealed that crude oil mass cultured marine bacteria applied to an oil slick in a nutrient salts solution would preferentially remain at the oil-water interface preferentially remain at the oil-water interface while degrading the floating oil slick. A wax-nutrient salts composite is now being considered as a method for retaining a source of nutrient salts at the oil-water interface.

Introduction

Crude oils are being released into the world ocean in increasing amounts. Besides constituting a needless loss to the world petroleum reserves, the effects of crude petroleum reserves, the effects of crude oils on the marine ecosystem may be undesirable. Although crude oils contain hydrocarbons with demonstrable toxicities and carcinogenic properties in pure form (Blumer, 1969), there are no empirical data describing the responses of biological systems to chronic low-level crude oil pollution. While indirect evidence pollution. While indirect evidence indicates that acutely polluted areas recover from massive petroleum spills (Straughan, 1971; Chan, 1972), hydrocarbons associated with hydrocarbon pollutants have been extracted from exposed marine organisms (Blumer, Souza and Sass, 1970; ZoBell, 1971) Complicating an interpretation of this latter phenomenon is a lack of knowledge describing baseline concentrations and types of hydrocarbons in marine organisms and more significantly, the abilities of organisms to metabolize and/or release hydrocarbons after the pollution scarce has been removed (Lee, Sauerheber, and Benson, 1972).

Complementing our ignorance of the biological effects of pollutant crude oils upon marine organisms is the fate of crude oil hydrocarbons introduced into the world ocean.

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