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Microbes eating oil in Pandacan to the rescue

October 25, 2006

SCIENTISTS and scholars, as well as engineers and environmentalists, will have to be adept both in operating robotic arms from submersibles and seeding oil-eating microbes to find a lasting solution to the oil spill from Guimaras island-province. Luckily, they don’t have to look far.

Experts from the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) have found an indigenous source of oil-gobbling bacteria that can clean up Guimaras in a jiffy.
Unfortunately, the bacteria, found in great abundance in the oil rich esteros (creeks) of the oil depots in Pandacan, Manila, will have to give up their lives in the process of cleaning up the oil.

But scientists are not worried over the microbes’ supreme sacrifice. The microbes can multiply as quickly as they gobble up the oil – at the prodigious rate of doubling their population every 20 minutes. This translates to a reproductive rate of 7,200 times a day, according to DoST scientists.

The bacteria, scientifically known as Pseudomonas aeroginosa, is one of four indigenous oleophiliac (oil-eating) microbes that can be inoculated into oil spills to wipe them out in no time at all, says engineer Romeo N. Cabacang, chief of the Microbiology and Genetics Division-Industrial Technology Development Institute of the DoST.

Cabacang says the microbe, which thrives in the oil-rich esteros of Pandacan, is not only a voracious oil-eater but also a prodigious reproducer.

(For the full story, click INQ7.Net, Oct. 24, 2006.)

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