Oil Spill Bioremediation Kit

Carolina Science Supply
The activities in this kit are intended to
simulate how oil-degrading microbes can be
used to break down petroleum after oceanic
oil spills.
The activities are NOT a direct representation
of marine oil spill bioremediation.
Carolina Item #181322
Kit designed for a class
of 32 students
Included in the kit:
 1 bottle of tetrazolium
indicator, 0.02%
▪ Chemical indicator that will
turn from clear to pink when
 1 bottle of oil
 1 container of Rid-X Septic
System Treatment
 1 sheet of labels
 64 culture tubes with caps
 81 plastic pipettes
Needed, but not
 Test tube racks
 At lease 64 mL of
distilled water
 140 mL warm tap water
 Funnel
 20 x 20 Cheese cloth
Prior to the lab, the Rid-X solution needs to
be made, left to react, and then sifted.
This process can be completed the day before
the lab.
In a spill of crude oil in the ocean:
 25% of the oil evaporates and becomes air
 15% of the oil consists of heavy compounds which
stick together and sink to the bottom of the ocean
 The remaining 60% is broken down over time into
simpler, nontoxic products by oil-degrading
microbes (microscopic living organisms) in a
process called biodegradation.
 Human intervention to facilitate microbial
removal of pollutants from the environment
 Three major approaches to bioremediation for the
cleanup of marine oil spills
 Optimizing the environment of oil-degrading
microbes to accelerate their growth and metabolic
 Nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron are
added to the ocean environment, much like applying
fertilizer to a lawn
 Negatives
▪ Nutrients must remain in contact with the oil
▪ Concentration must remain at an optimal level for an
extended period of time.
 The process of supplementing (or “seeding”) a
population of naturally occurring, oil-degrading
microbes with additional microorganisms
 Used when the existing population of microbes in a
contaminated region is not optimally suited to
degrade the type of oil present
 Positives
▪ These microbes cans be easily cultivated in large quantities in
laboratories and can be stored, ready for use, for up to three
Genetically Engineered Microorganisms
 Most naturally occurring microbes cannot achieve
complete degradation on its own
 Scientists are creating genetically modified
microorganisms to combine requisite pathways
and enzymes in one organism in order to degrade
oil more efficiently and extensively
 Relatively new approach and is undergoing
Lab consists of four culture tubes to be used in
two experiments
Experiment A
▪ Oil will be treated with oil-degrading microbes (experimental
condition) and without oil-degrading microbes (control
condition) in the presence of the tetrazolium chemical indicator
Experiment B
▪ Oil will be treated with oil-degrading microbes (experimental
condition) and without oil-degrading microbes (control
condition) but without the chemical indicator

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