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Scientists of Rosneft and Russian Arctic National Park discover microorganisms able to clean soil from oil pollution

15 April 2020

Within the scope of Clean Arctic complex joint project, experts of Rosneft Oil Company and Russian Arctic National Park discovered bacteria that can be used as a basis for development of an innovative agent for cleaning soils from petroleum-based products.

Scientists uncovered the promising microorganisms during the acquisition of samples of polluted soil on the Alexandra Land island, where fuel storage depots were situated until 2015.

In a series of tests, conducted in the laboratories of RAS Federal Research Centre of Biotechnology, a unique feature of the bacteria was discovered – they are able to decompose petroleum-based products at low temperatures (2-6°С). These microorganisms may be used to create bio-agents for complex cleaning of soils in Arctic from petroleum-based products.

Thus, the scientists' discovery will allow to solve one of the main environmental problems of Arctic territories.

«Since the process of soil self-cleaning takes a long time, biotechnological methods of soil recultivation, which we are currently studying in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, get an exceptionally important role,» - said the head of the Clean Arctic complex scientific project Dmitry Krjukov.

The Clean Arctic project is a logical extension of Russian president's initiative to clean Arctic territories, implementation of which was started in the Franz Josef Land archipelago in 2012.

Earlier, at the premises of the Biology Faculty of the MSU named after M. V. Lomonosov, Rosneft together with Innopraktika company developed an agent for utilisation of oil pollutants on water at low and below-freezing temperatures, that has no equals anywhere in the world.

Note for Editors:

Clean Arctic complex joint project by Rosneft Oil Company and Russian Arctic National Park started in 2019. The initiative aims to rehabilitate the ecosystem of the northernmost territories of Russia - the wildlife sanctuary archipelago of Franz Josef Land, which is a part of a specially protected natural reservation since 1994.

The main goal is to assess the scope of pollution of the wildlife sanctuary archipelago's territory caused by human economic activities during the Arctic development in the Soviet period. Joint project became a logical extension of works on remediation of accumulated environmental damage, conducted in 2012-2017 on the islands of Franz Josef Land archipelago and in Novaya Zemlya within the borders of the national park.

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April 15, 2020