Variety is the Spice of Life

Posted Jul 05, 2016 by: Fritz HostropVariety is the Spice of Life

Recently while evaluating the feasibility of bioremediation for a brackish water chlorinated solvent release site, I sought information regarding the impact of salinity on dehalococcoides (dhc), the only known family of bacteria capable of degrading solvents such as perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene all the way through to ethene and ethane. Occasionally searches reveal tantalizing tangents, in this case an article by Terry C. Hazen et. al. in January's Environmental Science & Technology which was forwarded to me by Dick Raymond of Terra Systems, Inc. covering the biodegradation of oil in marine environments. While dhc may have the monopoly on chlorinated solvent remediation, petroleum degradation is capable of being performed by a variety of organisms on this planet, which come from all three branches of life ranging from eukaryotes (which includes us) to archaea and bacteria. So although this may not be as exciting as the latest epidemic induced zombie apocalypse or aliens crashing to their deaths after catching an earthly cold, it is no less interesting to appreciate life's ability to find a way, whether its in the dark cold and pressures of our deep oceans or the sun lit shallower waters. Enjoy!