Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Chemical dispersant enhances microbial exopolymer (EPS) production and formation of marine oil/dispersant snow in surface waters of the subarctic northeast Atlantic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A notable feature of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the unprecedented formation of marine oil snow (MOS) that was observed in large quantities floating on the sea surface and that subsequently sedimented to the seafloor. Whilst the physical and chemical processes involved in MOS formation remain unclear, some studies have shown that extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) play a role in this process. Here, we report that during exposure of subarctic northeast Atlantic seawater to a chemical dispersant, whether in the presence/absence of crude oil, the dispersant stimulates the production of significant quantities of EPS that we posit serves as a key building block in the formation of MOS. This response is likely conferred via de-novo synthesis of EPS by natural communities of bacteria. We also describe the formation of marine dispersant snow (MDS) as a product of adding chemical dispersants to seawater. Differential staining confirmed that MDS, like MOS, is composed of glycoprotein, though MDS is more protein rich. Using barcoded-amplicon Illumina MiSeq sequencing, we analyzed, for the first time, the bacterial communities associated with MDS and report that their diversity is not significantly dissimilar to those associated with MOS aggregates. Our findings emphasize the need to conduct further work on the effects of dispersants when applied to oil spills at sea, particularly at different sites, and to determine how the product of this (i.e. MOS and MDS) affects the biodegradation of the oil.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number553
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2019

    Research areas

  • Marine oil snow, Marine dispersant snow, Faroe-Shetland Channel, Hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria, EPS

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Integrating field and laboratory approaches for ripple development in mixed sand–clay–EPS

    Baas, J. H., Baker, M. L., Malarkey, J., Bass, S. J., Manning, A. J., Hope, J. A., Peakall, J., Lichtman, I. D., Ye, L., Davies, A. G., Parsons, D. R., Paterson, D. M. & Thorne, P. D., 5 Jun 2019, In : Sedimentology. Early View, 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Factors affecting the spatial and temporal distribution of E. coli in intertidal estuarine sediments

    Wyness, A. J., Paterson, D. M., Mendo, T., Defew, E. C., Stutter, M. I. & Avery, L. M., 15 Apr 2019, In : Science of the Total Environment. 661, p. 155-167

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. The effect of cyclic variation of shear stress on non-cohesive sediment stabilization by microbial biofilms: the role of ‘biofilm precursors’

    Chen, X., Zhang, C., Paterson, D. M., Townend, I. H., Jin, C., Zhou, Z., Gong, Z. & Feng, Q., 1 Feb 2019, In : Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. Early View, 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Comparing the network structure and resilience of two benthic estuarine systems following the implementation of nutrient mitigation actions

    Watson, S. C. L., Beaumont, N. J., Widdicombe, S. & Paterson, D. M., 7 Jan 2019, In : Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Nondestructive 3D imaging and quantification of hydrated biofilm-sediment aggregates using X-ray microcomputed tomography

    Zhang, N., Thompson, C. E. L., Townend, I. H., Rankin, K. E., Paterson, D. M. & Manning, A. J., 20 Nov 2018, In : Environmental Science and Technology. 52, 22, p. 13306-13313

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Frontiers in Microbiology (Journal)

    David John Hughes (Reviewer)
    Jul 2015 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Frontiers in Microbiology (Journal)

    Michael Martin Nevels (Member of editorial board)
    May 2010 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. An ionic limit to life in the deep subsurface

    Payler, S. J., Biddle, J. F., Sherwood Lollar, B., Fox-Powell, M. G., Edwards, T., Ngwenya, B. T., Paling, S. M. & Cockell, C. S., 12 Mar 2019, In : Frontiers in Microbiology. 10, 15 p., 00426.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Global scale dissemination of ST93: a divergent Staphylococcus aureus epidemic lineage that has recently emerged from remote Northern Australia

    van Hal, S. J., Steinig, E. J., Andersson, P., Holden, M. T. G., Harris, S. R., Nimmo, G. R., Williamson, D. A., Heffernan, H., Ritchie, S. R., Kearns, A. M., Ellington, M. J., Dickson, E., de Lencastre, H., Coombs, G. W., Bentley, S. D., Parkhill, J., Holt, D. C., Giffard, P. M. & Tong, S. Y. C., 9 Jul 2018, In : Frontiers in Microbiology. 9, 11 p., 1453.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Linking microbial community structure and function during the acidified anaerobic digestion of grass

    Joyce, A., Ijaz, U. Z., Nzeteu, C., Vaughan, A., Shirran, S. L., Botting, C. H., Quince, C., O’Flaherty, V. & Abram, F., 21 Mar 2018, In : Frontiers in Microbiology. 9, 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 258320672