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Rosneft Preparing Oil Spillage Cleaning Technologies for Arctic Using Indigenous Microbes

Rosneft Company has developed a biological product for cleansing Northern seas from oil spillages. According to Rosneft’s statement, company’s Arctic Research Centre LLC and Innopraktika, a non-governmental development institute and a part of MSU’s biological faculty, are actualising the innovative project.

The technology is based on using natural cold-loving microbes that use hydrocarbons as their nutrient source. It is oriented to cleaning the coastline and water zones of northern seas off the oil pollutions.

Development of the product was performed in several stages. First, scientists chose over 100 microbial strains that can utilise oil and its products under low and subzero temperatures. For those purposes, over 250 water samples were taken from water zones of large northern harbours, as well as near the coastlines of northern cities (Murmansk, Vladivostok, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, etc.).

For a number of strains, the decrease of hydrocarbons after 14 days of experiment reached over 70%. All the microorganisms taken are indigenous to northern seas, so using them is eco-friendly.

On the second stage, biologists began developing the hydrophobic shell with a product based on microbes in it. The shell dissolves only after contacting a hydrocarbon fraction, which allows delivering the product directly to a spillage to increase the efficiency.

The product has successfully passed laboratory tests. The field testing is planned to be executed in the Laboratory of Maritime Flow Systems based on White Sea Biological Station of MSU. The laboratory is now being actively renovated with the assistance of Rosneft. Flow-through sea aquariums allow testing without any harm to arctic ecosystem, as well as confirming the high efficiency of the solution under real-life conditions.

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