Fates of spilt oil and factors affecting the bio-degradation of oil: a review
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- Crude oil spills; Weathering of oil; Bio-degradation; Environmental Engineering
thesis / dissertation description
The usage of crude oil and its products is increasing; in turn, the number of spills is also going up. The inland spills are the more recurrent spills in the U.S today. This review article deals with the weathering of oils, which commences just after oil spills into the environment with various processes such as evaporation, dissolution, photo-oxidation, dispersion, emulsification and bio-degradation along with other possible fates. Biodegradation is one of the most significant processes of weathering which depends on oil physical and chemical characteristics, environmental characteristics, pH, salinity and oil concentration. There is a range of oil concentration for bio-degradation to occur; otherwise inhibition of microbial activity is observed. The microbial activity is dependent on the type of the microbes present. The interfacial area of oil and water is also an important factor which varies significantly with variation in water saturation. The degree of bio-degradation varies between saturates, aromatics, resins and asphaltenes.