Researchers at Kazan University found an innovative method of neutralizing oil extraction waste by microbes.
The results of this research made by the Biocontrol Lab of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences have been published in Biogeosciences.
Transporting and refining oil is, unfortunately, quite detrimental to the environment. About 50 to 70 percent of existing anthropogenic pollution is that of petroleum industry. The heavier fractions containing radioactive elements are especially problematic.
Today the thermal treatment method is the most popular, but it isn’t of much help because the residue is still radioactive and can poison soil down to 1 meter depth – thus affecting the growth of organisms and plants.
Luckily, KFU's employees found a way to neutralize toxic waste by composting it together with soil or general waste. Some of microorganisms inhabiting those types of waste possess high destructive activity. These strains can be used to accelerate purification.
Head of the Biocontrol Lab Polina Galitskaya says, “The next step is to find out if these microorganisms can survive in aggressive medium. Ten years ago such a research would have been very complex and inaccurate. Today the progress of molecular biology allows us to track the life cycle of any microorganism. These methods were first used in medicine and now find their way into ecology. They can be utilized to control the efficiency of environmental protection technologies”.