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Kujawinski and Soule measure dispersants in the Gulf oil spill

After the Spill, the Dispersant

Marine chemist Elizabeth Kujawinski (standing), researcher Melissa Kido Soule (seated), and colleagues recently found that a main component of a chemical dispersant used during the Deepwater Horizon spill to break up the oil persisted for months deep in the Gulf of Mexico. The chemical remained mixed with oil, but was not degraded by bacteria that consumed the oil, raising questions about its possible impact on deep marine ecosystems. Kujawinski, Kido Soule, and others identified the chemical with an ultra-sensitive mass spectrometer, funded by the National Science Foundation, and then developed quantitative methods to measure minute amounts of the chemical so that it could be traced through the Gulf. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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