Arctic Oil Biodegradation.
ALASKA UNIV COLLEGE INST OF MARINE SCIENCE
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The abundance of microbial hydrocarbon oxidizers is reported from measurements in three widely distributed marine systems in the far north. Concomitant in situ organic substrate oxidation rates measured by 14CO2 collection were 0.2 to 1.6 ngl hr from an initial added concentration of 1.4 microgramsl mixed amino acids and 2 to 50 ngl hr from added dodecane solution. The solubility of dodecane in saline medium was determined and the predictability of high molecular weight alkane solubility confirmed. This true solution was used to show that a relatively high molecular weight hydrocarbon can be co-metabolized along with another substrate arginine from the dissolved phase. Dodecane derived CO2, arginine and glutamic acid were recovered from the 14C-dodecane, 12C-arginine medium after having been supplied to a continuous culture of a marine hydrocarbon oxidizing isolate. Clay sorption experiments were conducted which showed that the catalytic role of suspended sediments was negligible. No dodecane sorption by bentonite could be detected in a 20 saturated hydrocarbon solution. These and other data presented support the assumption that direct dissolved phase organic material metabolism is a normal ubiquitous marine process having characteristics compatible with submicrogram per liter steady state hydrocarbon concentrations.
- Biological Oceanography