Researchers Release Study on Effect of Dispersants on Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

WOODS HOLE – Scientists continue to research the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and are studying the effect dispersants had in breaking down oil.

A 2014 study identified how much and where the oil was deposited onto the seafloor.

A new study recently published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, which included a researcher from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, examined more than 400 sediment seafloor samples to investigate what happened in the frigid temperatures after four years.

Simple structure compounds were consumed by microbes first but researchers were surprised to find that microbes also decomposed a complex compound called hopane.

Hopane was generally believed to be resistant to degradation.

The study found that the compound degraded in areas less contaminated by oil.

Researchers believe the use of 900,000 gallons of dispersants at the ocean surface and the controversial action of pumping 771,000 gallons of dispersants at the seafloor may have broken up the oil into smaller droplets which could be consumed by the microbes.

Studies must also be conducted to determine the potential impacts caused to the environment by a prolonged exposure to dispersants or the dispersed oil.

About NewsCenter

The award-winning NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local news. We are on the job seven days a week.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy