Licensed under the Creative Commons attribution non-commercial, no derivative license


Oil spills have had extremely negative effects upon the environment, affecting both animal and plant species living in and around the contaminated water. It is known that the oil can interfere with certain plant and animal functions, potentially causing death. Means developed to remove the oil from the water include physical methods such as skimmers and chemical approaches such as adsorbents and dispersants. In the cases of the chemical treatments, some people question whether the remedy may also cause problems. Here, we confirm that the aquatic duckweed plant (Lemna) can take up zinc from its environment and show that oil in the water will inhibit that uptake. Further, we demonstrate that the negative affect the oil has upon zinc uptake by duckweed can be ameliorated by treatment with a dispersant and that the dispersant itself does not inhibit zinc uptake by duckweed. We conclude that, treatment of oil contaminated water by dispersant may be a good method to clean up the water.