Microbes versus gasoline and diesel
All over the world there are old abandoned underground tanks, which eventually leak and pose a huge danger toecosystems and the local environment. But this can also happen in those that are in operation and until now the cleaning of these spills depended on the application of detergents.
The problem is that the cleaning costs were enormous and the chemicals used were not alwaysRespectful towards the environment. According to Derek Peak, a soil scientist at the aforementioned University: "sometimes the remedy is as bad or worse than the disease."
Peak explained that in the western part of the Canadian territory alone there are at least 1,500 disused service stations and the current cost of remediation of leaks is estimated at around € 1 million per site, not counting theenvironmental and ecological ravages that they may cause.
Thanks to a grant from the federal government, Peak and his team are trying to come up with a formula by which microbes already present in the soil can be “urged” to deal withdecompose naturally spilled gasoline and diesel.
A little help
They start from the premise that, if these microbes are naturally capable of attacking biological compounds (and fuels have an organic origin), it would only be necessary to find the right conditions to promote their growth and induce them to “work” in favor of theEnvironment.
These fuels would provide them with the usual nutrients on which these microbes feed, since they are part of thefood chain placing itself in the lowest sector, that of decomposers.
So far they face thelack of specificitySince microbes often choose several sources of food and the group needs them to dedicate themselves to exclusively attack fuels and to do so naturally.
Peak argues that, if his thesis is correct, not only could they save the government millions on cleaning up spills and leaks, but the solution would be practically harmless to theEnvironment and the ecosystems surrounding the source of the leaks.