Speaker: Dr. Tao Yan
Exploration and consumption of petroleum hydrocarbons have led to frequent oil spills and contamination of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Although every spill can have catastrophic consequences to the local ecosystem, contamination of groundwater aquifers represents the most direct and long-lasting threat to human health. This presentation will provide an overview of the current scientific understanding of microbial capabilities in degrading petroleum hydrocarbons. The dominant factor determining the fate of petroleum hydrocarbons in subsurface environments is biodegradation. We will discuss how the subsurface environmental conditions pose peculiar challenges to the biodegradation kinetics of petroleum hydrocarbons and contribute to their persistence. Finally, we will explore how biodegradation could potentially alter the transport behaviors of petroleum hydrocarbons and their degradation products, which presents unknowns and uncertainties to groundwater quality and human health.
February 18, 2022 Transcript (download here)
February 18, 2022 Recording (click here)