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PBI, Lawrence Berkeley Lab Partner to Analyze Oil Spill Microorganisms

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Pressure BioSciences and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory today announced a collaboration for the use of PBI's pressure cycling technology to analyze microorganisms in environments with low biomass, such as oil reservoirs or deep sea oil plumes resulting from oil spills.

PBI will install three addition NEP3229 PCT sample preparation systems at LBNL under an initial six-month reagent rental program, the company said in a statement. No further terms of the deal were disclosed.

Since 1967, about 50 major oils spills have occurred in 19 countries, PBI said. Multiple clean-up strategies have been used, and one of the safest involves using natural microorganisms to degrade the oil before it accumulates, said Janet Jansson, senior staff scientist in the Earth Sciences division at LBNL.

LBNL is using a systems biology approach in order to characterize the microbial communities associated with oil reserves, in turn, to develop new technologies that use natural microorganisms to enhance oil recovery.

"Due to the low number of microorganisms in these samples, LBNL scientists need to use the best, most sensitive sample preparation methods to analyze these important but challenging samples," she said.

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