Bacterial proliferation on clay nanotube Pickering emulsions for oil spill bioremediation

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© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Halloysites (tubular aluminosilicate) are introduced as inexpensive natural nanoparticles that form and stabilize oil-water emulsions. Pickering emulsification can proceed with energies low enough to be afforded by ocean turbulence and the stability of droplets extends over more than a week. The oil/water interface is shown to be roughened and bacteria, which are added for oil degradation, are better attached to such oil droplets than to droplets without halloysites. The metabolic activity of Alcanivorax borkumensis, alkanotrophic bacteria widely distributed in marine environments, is enhanced by halloysite addition. A halloysite-based dispersant system is therefore environmentally friendly and promising for further optimization. The key elements of the described formulations are natural clay nanotubes, which are abundantly available in thousands of tons, thus making this technology scalable for environmental remediation.

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Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces

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