Study: Propane-munching bacteria helped clean up the Gulf

09/16/2010 | Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)

The damage from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill would have been worse if not for strains of propane-munching bacteria, scientists believe. Studies suggest that propane and natural gas released during the spill sparked a bacterial population boom as the bacteria feasted on the gushing gases. Once the propane and NGLs were depleted, researchers believe, the organisms turned their attention to hydrocarbons such as oil, helping to mitigate the damage done by the disaster.

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