Scientists Discover Oil-Eating Bacteria at the Bottom of the Ocean.

Scientists Discover Oil-Eating Bacteria at the Bottom of the Ocean.

April 19, 2019.

In this modern era, science has achieved vast success in every field. New inventions brought into light whether they are related to medical, engineering, space or sea research. Now An international team of scientists, in which scientists from Britain, China, and Russia took part, they used a submersible to collect microbial samples from the trench, where bottoms are 6.7 miles below sea level. Mount Everest is 8,848 meters high in comparison to this.

The scientists published the results of the study Friday in the journal Microbiome. They analyzed the microbial samples collected during the expedition and a new group of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria found. Hydrocarbons are organic compound made up of only hydrogen and carbon atoms which are found in crude oil and natural gas, among other places.

A researcher at the University of East Anglia, Jonathan Toddy, said, “These types of microorganisms essentially eat compounds similar to those in oil and then use it for fuel”. He also said, “Similar microorganisms play a role in degrading oil spills in natural disasters such as BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.”

In a research carried out to collect samples of the microbial community at the deepest part of the Mariana Trench has revealed a new ‘oil-eating’ bacteria. The research team not only found that the hydrocarbon degrading bacteria was abundant at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, they found that the proportion of bacteria in the Trench is the highest on Earth.

The abundance of the oil-eating bacteria in the trench surprised the scientists because nowhere else on Earth oil-eating bacteria are found in abundance. Researchers found the oil-eating bacteria as deep as 4 miles beneath the ocean surface, and scientists suspect the microbes live at even greater depths.

The scientists not only found that these microbes took the large proportion of their food from the pollution that sinks from the ocean surface but also found the evidence that some of the hydrocarbons are sourced from below.

Nikolai Pedentchouk, a UEA scientist said, “To our surprise, we also identified biologically produced hydrocarbons in the ocean sediment at the bottom of the trench”. “This suggests that a unique microbial population is producing hydrocarbons in this environment.”

“They may also be acting as a food source for other microbes, which may also consume any pollutant hydrocarbons that happen to sink to the ocean floor. But more research is needed to fully understand this unique environment”, Said Dr. David Lea-Smith, of UEA’s School of Biological Sciences.

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