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Will you be my Naphthalene?

This image of a single molecule of crude oil from the Gulf of Mexico appears to have an intrinsic sense of romance on Valentine’s Day. WHOI scientists Bob Nelson and Chris Reddy used state-of-the-art forms of analytical techniques such as gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to study how microbes eat oil after oil spills. The molecule itself is a close cousin to Naphthalene, the primary ingredient in mothballs. What better way to say "I love you"?

(Image courtesy of Bob Nelson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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