Naturally occurring bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico consumed 200,000 tons of the oil and natural gas spilt from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion.
For five months following the disaster, a large amount of oil and gas retained more than one-half mile below the ocean surface was removed by hydrocarbon-eating bacteria.
Researchers calculated the rate of consumption by measuring how much oxygen had been removed from the ocean. Like humans, when bacteria consume oil or gas they use up oxygen and release carbon dioxide.
This information is fundamental to understanding the environmental impact of both this and future oil spills.Read more at University of Rochester