BioPetroClean: Bacteria That Lick Up Crude Oil

An oil spill on the beach. Rigs at sea that have no choice but to dump tar-like waste into the water. Bilges from ships after they have dropped off a load of crude oil. What all these things have in common is that they are excellent candidates for a new environmentally-friendly oil-licker-upper company: BioPetroClean. Cleaning up oil spills and cleaning oil from water remains a costly and challenging procedure, but one that oil refineries and shipyards must handle on daily basis- usually to the detriment of nature. Light years ahead of his time and featured in Time Magazine already a couple of decades ago for his oil-munching bacteria, the life’s work of Prof. Eugene Rosenberg from Tel Aviv University has finally come to fruition through a new start-up company BioPetroClean. Rosenberg found that some bacteria occurring in nature have an affinity to and play a role in digesting crude oil. Working with the bacteria in the lab, Rosenberg isolated a particular strain and found that in high quantities can be introduced into a closed system with proper nutrients to clean up unwanted oil. What’s left is clear water. A couple of pilot sites are now using the technology in Israel. Says BioPetroClean CEO David Amir, “Israel won't be bacteria incubators for the universe - we would rather link to service providers across the universe. This would give better service and more oil contamination clean-up possibilities." ::ISRAEL21c

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