Biotechnologies for Marine Oil Spill Cleanup: Indissoluble Ties with Microorganisms

Francesca Mapelli, Alberto Scoma, Gregoire Michoud, Federico Aulenta, Nico Boon, Sara Borin, Nicolas Kalogerakis, Daniele Daffonchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


The ubiquitous exploitation of petroleum hydrocarbons (HCs) has been accompanied by accidental spills and chronic pollution in marine ecosystems, including the deep ocean. Physicochemical technologies are available for oil spill cleanup, but HCs must ultimately be mineralized by microorganisms. How environmental factors drive the assembly and activity of HC-degrading microbial communities remains unknown, limiting our capacity to integrate microorganism-based cleanup strategies with current physicochemical remediation technologies. In this review, we summarize recent findings about microbial physiology, metabolism and ecology and describe how microbes can be exploited to create improved biotechnological solutions to clean up marine surface and deep waters, sediments and beaches.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)860-870
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 13 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) supported the study through the baseline research funds to D.D. Figure 1 ; Figure 2 were produced by Xavier Pita and Figure 3 was produced by Heno Hwang, scientific illustrators at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).


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