Fresh and weathered crude oil effects on potential denitrification rates of coastal marsh soil

TitleFresh and weathered crude oil effects on potential denitrification rates of coastal marsh soil
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsPietroski JP, White JR, DeLaune RD, Wang JJ, Dodla SK
Date Published2015-Sep
Accession NumberMEDLINE:25929872
KeywordsDeepwater Horizon Oil Spill
AbstractOn April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform experienced an explosion which triggered the largest marine oil spill in US history, resulting in the release of 795 million L of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Once oil reached the surface, changes in overall chemical composition occurred due to volatilization of the smaller carbon chain compounds as the oil was transported onshore by winds and currents. In this study, the toxic effects of both fresh and weathered crude oil on denitrification rates of coastal marsh soil were determined using soil samples collected from an unimpacted coastal marsh site proximal to areas that were oiled in Barataria Bay, LA. The 1:10 ratio of crude oil:field moist soil fully coated the soil surface mimicking a heavy oiling scenario. Potential denitrification rates at the 1:10 ratio, for weathered crude oil, were 46±18.4% of the control immediately after exposure and 62±8.0% of the control following a two week incubation period, suggesting some adaptation of the denitrifying microbial consortium over time. Denitrification rates of soil exposed to fresh crude oil were 51.5±5.3% of the control after immediate exposure and significantly lower at 10.9±1.1% after a 2week exposure period. Results suggest that fresh crude oil has the potential to more severely impact the important marsh soil process of denitrification following longer term exposure. Future studies should focus on longer-term denitrification as well as changes in the microbial consortia in response to oil exposure.