Alcanivorax borkumensis

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Recently, researchers found that Alcanivorax borkumensis biofilms enhance oil degradation by interfacial tabulation.

About Alcanivorax borkumensis:


  • It is a marine bacterium that uses exclusively petroleum oil hydrocarbons as sources of carbon and energy (and is therefore designated “hydrocarbonoclastic”).
  • It is found in low numbers in all oceans of the world and becomes abundant in oil-contaminated waters.
  • It may now serve as a model organism to understand bacterial alkane metabolism.
  • It is a rod shaped bacterium without flagella that obtains its energy primarily from eating alkanes (a type of hydrocarbon).
  • It is aerobic, meaning it uses oxygen to gain energy.
  • It is halophilic, meaning it tends to form in environments that contain salt, such as salty ocean water.
  • It also can flourish in areas with heavy tides and other sea related currents/flow.
  • It is found only on or near the surface of water.
  • It can live in salinities ranging from 1‐12.5% and in temperatures ranging from 4‐35°C.
  • Its ubiquity, unusual physiology and demonstrated role in biodegradation show that it is globally important in the removal of hydrocarbons from polluted marine systems.


Q1) What are Halophilic organisms?

These refers to organisms that thrive in highly saline (salty) environments. These environments can include areas such as salt flats, salt mines, saline lakes, salt pans, and saltwater bodies like salt marshes and hypersaline lagoons. Halophilic organisms have adapted to tolerate and even require high levels of salt in their surroundings.

Source: Bacteria stretch and bend oil to feed their appetite