Chemicals are regularly used to help clean up oil disasters, to break up the oil/water emulsion, making oil more soluble and thus removing it from the surface water. Scientists in Germany are looking at away to get away from the chemicals and use an oil eating bacteria instead
Having said that, oil-degrading bacteria are not a human invention, having been around for millions of years. The only thing that is new is the quantity of oil being spilled into the sea.
A team of international scientists has identified two types of bacteria that can prevent spills from getting bigger. These oil degrading bacteria form a bloom when in contact with oil and thus prevent oil spillage.
Scientists are trying to gain more insight on bacteria Oleispira antartica to see if it can adapt to low temperatures. This could be key to creating an effective risk mitigation strategy of oil spills in deep sea or Polar Regions.