Overcoming the Hump: Biodegradation of Recalcitrant Oily Wastes

M. Frenzel1, S.J. Rowland2, B.E. Smith2, A.M. Booth2, S.K. Burton1, C. Whitby1,3 and H.M. Lappin-Scott1


School of Biosciences, University of Exeter, Hatherly Laboratories, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter EX4 4PS, U.K.
2 Petroleum & Environmental Geochemistry Group, SEOES, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, U.K.
3 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park CO4 OLH, U.K.

Presented at: 11th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology (ISME-11), Vienna, Austria, 20-25 August 2006.

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Brief Summary

Oil fractions which are resistant to weathering and represent large volumes of toxic waste comprise very complex mixtures including hydrocarbons and carboxylic acids. Since such fractions are unresolved by conventional methods of analysis including gas chromatography (GC), they are often referred to as Unresolved Complex Mixtures (UCMs) or ‘humps’. The acids therein are also often referred to as naphthenic acids (NAs), though they too are often unresolved and unidentified. A number of model UCM hydrocarbons and NAs have been proposed, including alkylcyclohexyltetralins and alkylcyclohexylalkanoic acids.

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