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Environmental Pollution Science Fair Project

Bioremediation of Oil Spills

Bioremediation of Oil Spills | Science Fair Projects | STEM Projects
In this experiment, you'll use a marine bacteria called Acinetobacter calcoaceticus RAG-1 to break down hydrocarbons in oil. You'll measure the growth rate of the bacteria and the amount of oil degraded to determine the conditions needed for bioremediation.


The hypothesis is that Acinetobacter calcoaceticus RAG-1 can be used to bioremediate oil spills.

Method & Materials

You will use a spectrophotometer to measure the optical density of the media, inoculate two test tubes with RAG-1, layer 60 ul of used and fresh oil on each tube, and place the tubes in a shaker water bath.
You will need a spectrophotometer, two sterile 10 ml test tubes containing 3 ml carbon deficient media, 2 snap covers for tubes - size 13, 1 agar plate of RAG-1, 60 ul used motor oil, 60 ul fresh motor oil, overnight growth of Acinetobacter calcoaceticus RAG-1, test tube rack, flame source, goggles, 10-100 ul micropipette, and carbon minimal salts culture media.


This experiment demonstrates how Acinetobacter calcoaceticus RAG-1 can be used to bioremediate oil spills. The correlation between the optical density of the media, the growth rate of the bacteria, and the amount of oil degraded was observed.

Why do this project?

This science project is unique because it uses a test tube model to experiment with bioremediation of oil spills.

Also Consider

Experiment variations to consider include enhancing the growth media with nutrients to increase bacterial activity, isolating the RAG-1 plasmid and transforming hardier strains of bacteria, developing a method which allows the quick delivery of ready-to-grow bacterial cultures to an oil spill site, and using another organism such as algae as a model for bioremediation.

Full project details

You can find additional information and details for this science fair project here. Have fun exploring!

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