Biostimulation of Marine Crude Oil Spills Using Dispersants

  • Roger C. PrinceEmail author
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


Dispersants provide a bioremediation option for oil spills at sea for both surface and subsea releases, as demonstrated in the Deepwater Horizon response. By decreasing the interfacial tension between oil and water, dispersants substantially reduce the amount of energy required to disperse oil as tiny droplets (<70 μm) in the water column. Such droplets are essentially neutrally buoyant, so with minimal turbulence they stay in the water column and diffuse apart rather than coalesce as a slick. Since biodegradation of minimally soluble oil components is likely a surface phenomenon, this increase in surface area leads to more rapid biodegradation. This paper describes the tests mandated by regulators to test the efficacy of dispersants for registration on National Contingency Plans and microbiological studies aiming at understanding the longer-term fate of dispersed oil. These two categories have essentially no overlap – the conditions for one set of tests are inappropriate for the other.


Corexit Dispersants Environmentally-relevant conditions Regulatory tests 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Inc.AnnandaleUSA

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