Biodegradation of petroleum in marine seep sediments

This study presented for the first time the use of intact sediment cores in a continuous sediment-oil-flow-through (SOFT) system for investigating the degradation of petroleum under a simulated petroleum seepage.The biogeochemical response of sediments from hydrocarbon adapted sites like the Caspian Sea, North Alex Mud Volcano in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Santa Barbara Channel and non-adapted site like the Eckernfoerde Bay in the Baltic Sea to petroleum seepage was investigated and compared using the SOFT system.Distinct redox zonation was established in the sediment cores that evolved temporally and spatially during the upward migration of petroleum. Sulfate reduction and methanogenesis were identified as two major processes involved in the degradation of petroleum at seeps.


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