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Marine Oil Snow, a Microbial Perspective

Gregson, Benjamin H and McKew, Boyd A and Holland, Robert D and Nedwed, Timothy J and Prince, Roger C and McGenity, Terry J (2021) 'Marine Oil Snow, a Microbial Perspective.' Frontiers in Marine Science, 8. ISSN 2296-7745

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Abstract

Under certain conditions, dispersed crude oil in the sea combines with organisms, organic matter, and minerals to form marine oil snow (MOS), thereby contributing to the sinking of oil to the seafloor. Marine microbes are the main players in MOS formation, particularly via the production of extracellular polymeric substances. Distinct groups of microbes also consume the majority of the hydrocarbons during descent, leading to enrichment of the less bioavailable hydrocarbons and asphaltenes in the residue. Here we discuss the dynamics of microbial communities in MOS together with their impacts on MOS evolution. We explore the effects of dispersant application on MOS formation, and consider ways in which laboratory experiments investigating MOS formation can be more representative of the situation in the marine environment, which in turn will improve our understanding of the contribution of MOS to the fate of spilled oil.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: marine oil snow, marine snow, hydrocarbon biodegradation, hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria, extracellular polymeric substances, oil-spill response
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2021 10:27
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2021 10:27
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/29678

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