Gulf spill: Small bacteria proved big help

Shortly after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists found methane concentrations 100,000 times above normal levels and feared the worst for the area’s eco-system. Now it appears one of the biggest heroes in this disaster saga came in the form of one of the smallest living organisms known to man. As reported in Popular Science, a species of methane-munching bacteria known as methanotrophs began proliferating after the spill, and within a period of months began to tidy up the area. In fact, so proficient were the organisms that when scientists took measurements in October 2010, the bacterial blooms removed more than 200,000 metric tons of methane, returning concentrations back to normal levels.

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CFACT defends the environment and human welfare through facts, news, and analysis.