On the hunt for tiny life forms in the oil spill

special correspondent, Charlotte ObserverJune 14, 2010 

In the midst of the largest oil spill in U.S. history, scientists from UNC Chapel Hill are scouring the Gulf of Mexico for an almost invisible life-form that may be crucial to the cleanup.

Marine microbiologist Andreas Teske and his team are hunting for a group of microbes that feed on oil, breaking down the hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide.

The UNC researchers have taken hundreds of samples of everything from surface water to the sediment 5,000 feet below. What they've found so far indicates the microbes are already munching away at the oil - and they're dining in some unexpected places.

Read the full story at charlotteobserver.com.

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