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article imageOil eating bacteria doing a better job than BP?

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By Sarah Shannon     Sep 3, 2010 in Science
Oil-eating Bacteria is helping BP with its toughest job of cleaning up the oil in the worst spill the world has ever seen.
The Bacteria called oceanospirillales had been a complete mystery to scientists who were unable to account for the missing oil. It has come to light that swarms of the oil eating bug have munched through massive plumes of oil helping with the clean up.
Officials were baffled at what had become of the oil clouds after nearly five million barrels worth had spilled into the Gulf of Mexico during the 87 days it took to cap the leak after the original explosion on April 20th.
The experts examined a 22 mile long, 3,600 ft- deep plume in May and June that had a growing population of Bacteria approximately six miles from the leak. Each time the scientists were able to get back to the lab to test the water samples they had collected the bugs had already eaten the oil in the water.
When they returned to where the plumes had been earlier this month the Bacteria was still present but the oil was gone.
Terry Hazen, head of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's ecology department, said DNA tests showed that the bugs had genes for processing oil. He said: 'We've never seen anything that can do better than the bugs.'
Other experts have claimed that the plumes may have diluted or moved and the Bacteria is not the cause.
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