Biology Question #1280

bbg, a 16 year old female from the Internet asks on February 22, 2003,

Are there any Canadian scientists that have contributed to the field of bioremediation?

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The answer

Murray Strome answered on March 25, 2003

There are many scientists in Canada who are contributing to this field. A web search turned up these:

Bioremediation — The 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, a bioremediation strategy based on nutrient enrichment was used to clean up over 100 kilometres of contaminated shoreline. Scientists from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans had previously learned that the crude oil spilled on sandy Nova Scotia beaches wasn't breaking down because of poor soil conditions. Low nutrient concentrations were limiting the rate of oil degradation by natural bacteria within the sediments. Fertilizer was added to improve the soil and it worked.

The development and evaluation of bioremediation strategies for oiled wetlands is now the focus of a joint study by DFO and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Salt marshes are a habitat for all kinds of wildlife and the nursery of the ocean fisheries. When the study is completed in 2002, scientists will have a better understanding of how salt marshes recover from oil spills and which treatment strategies are best for helping to speed natural recovery.

Contact: Anne Henhoeffer, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, (613) 993-0996

A few other bioremediation experts in Canada:

University of Alberta Department of Renewable Resources

Prof. Grant Edwards, Engineering, U. of Guelph

Dr. Elizabeth Edwards, U of Toronto

There are many more.

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