The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf Region Oil Spill: Educational Modules and Methods for Long-Term Remediation Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/x633f288v

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  • On April 20th, 2010 the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico malfunctioned leading to a 4.9 million barrel oil spill. The released oil affected marine life, coastal ecosystems, and the economic framework of the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf spill spurred research on absorbent materials and engineering outreach. Crude oil can be removed by adsorbent or absorbent materials or through bioremediation. Sheep wool and other absorbent materials were used for surface clean-up experiments and evaluated using absorbency ratio metrics. Educational modules were developed to bring engineering applications to K-12 outreach programs. Additionally, mushroom mycelia act as a filter for contaminants in ecosystems and can bioremediate hydrocarbon compounds. Oyster mushroom mycelium were cultivated and used to test bioremediation of crude oil in a controlled environment. Absorbency ratios ranged between 3.97 to 14.7 mL oil per gram material. Educational modules reached 800 students and 20 middle school teachers between June and September 2010. Many outreach programs continue to use the material that was developed. Bioremediation experiments did not yield conclusive results, but small mushroom growth was seen in Petri dish trials grown with deionized water. Future work includes analysis of crude oil concentration after mycelium degradation, effect of introduction of mushroom mycelium into gulf region, and sheep wool material analysis.
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