Thursday, October 2, 2008

Biomarkers Observed Contaminating Oil

Science Daily: Tiny Organisms Feast On Oil Thousands Of Feet Below Bottom Of Sea.

ScienceDaily (Oct. 1, 2008) — Thousands of feet below the bottom of the sea, off the shores of Santa Barbara, single-celled organisms are busy feasting on oil.

Until now, nobody knew how many oily compounds were being devoured by the microscopic creatures, but new research led by David Valentine of UC Santa Barbara and Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts has shed new light on just how extensive their diet can be.

In a report to be published in the Oct. 1 edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Valentine, Reddy, lead author George Wardlaw of UCSB, and three other co-authors detail how the microbes are dining on thousands of compounds that make up the oil seeping from the sea floor.

"It takes a special organism to live half a mile deep in the Earth and eat oil for a living," said Valentine, an associate professor of earth science at UCSB. "There's this incredibly complex diet for organisms down there eating the oil. It's like a buffet."

And, the researchers found, there may be one other byproduct being produced by all of this munching on oil - natural gas. "They're eating the oil, and probably making natural gas out of it," Valentine said. "It's actually a whole consortium of organisms - some that are eating the oil and producing intermediate products, and then those intermediate products are converted by another group to natural gas."

Reddy, a marine chemist at Woods Hole, said the research provides important new clues in the study of petroleum. "The biggest surprise was that microbes living without oxygen could eat so many compounds that compose crude oil," Reddy said. "Prior to this study, only a handful of compounds were shown, mostly in laboratory studies, to be degraded anaerobically. This is a major leap forward in understanding petroleum geochemistry and microbiology."
It's a major leap forward for everyone except 20th century fundamentalists.


Quantum_Flux said...


Anaconda said...


Now, according to scientific reports there are two ways for biocominates to be present in crude oil.

One way, is when oil travels upward in the stratigraphic column it passes through sedimentary layers, where it acts as a solvent so that remnants of organic detritus is incorporated in the oil. This is consistent with reports that oil trapped in shallow sedimentary deposits contains, not only organic detritus from that particular layer of sediment, but also organic detritus from deeper sedimentary layers in the stratigraphic column.

A good metaphor is a European espresso machine. The hot water, much like hot oil under pressure, is pressurized though the coffee grinds, much like organic detritus in a sedimentary layer, thus the hot water absorbs the coffee extracts from the grinds.

Thus oil has biocontaminates.

The second way, oil is contaminated by organic detritus is that the detritus is from organisms that feed on the oil and then die leaving their remains.

All organic detritus in crude oil can be explained by processes other than what "fossil" theory postulates.