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Development of effective and environmentally friendly formulations for the dispersion and remediation of heavy oil spilled in marine environments

Lead Proponent:   University of Toronto
Location:  Toronto, ON
OSRS Contribution: $112,700
Project Total: $ 151,250
Strategic Area:  Oil Spill Response Science

Project Objectives:

The Project will develop dispersant formulations with food-grade surfactants that would work synergistically with catalytic systems (enzymes, catalytic nanoparticles) to efficiently disperse and remediate spilled diluted oil. The enzyme-based formulations will be designed to achieve fast degradation of the spilled oil.

This Project will use metagenomics and genomic libraries (genetic material recovered directly from environmental samples) to identify novel enzymes and enzyme combinations for potential applications in oil spill bioremediation.   The work will increase the presently limited repertoire of enzymes useful for oil bioremediation in marine environments.   The key challenge in the dispersant area is to discover a formulation that, along with rapid dispersion and excellent emulsion stabilization properties, is also non-toxic, biodegradable and that can promote bacterial growth and degradation of the contaminants.

Expected Results:

This project will strengthen marine oil spill preparedness and response by improving Canada’s ability to plan and prepare appropriately to limit the impacts of oil spills including bitumen-based products, clean them up quickly and effectively, and accelerate recovery processes.

Find out more:

University of Toronto, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Institute for Water Innovation

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