Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) announced that on Thursday, October 28th, they co-sponsored a roundtable discussion on new ways to use biological solutions to assist in environment cleanup after manmade or natural disasters. "Gulf Oil Spill: Using Modern-day Biology to Assess the Environmental Impact and to Help in Remediation" was also sponsored by the Venture Development Center (VDC) at The University of Massachusetts Boston where the discussions took place.
"The Gulf Oil Spill catastrophe was a clear wake-up call regarding the critical need for faster and more efficient environmental cleanup solutions," said John Sterling, Editor in Chief of GEN, who served as co-moderator of the roundtable along with William Brah, Assistant Vice Provost for Research and Executive Director of the VDC. "GEN is honored to work with such a prestigious roundtable panel," added Sterling.
The panel members included John Farrington, UMass Dartmouth & Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (Emeritus); Olivia Mason, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Doug Bartlett, Scripps Oceanographic Institute; Juanita Urban-Rich, UMass Boston; and Richard T. Schumacher, Pressure BioSciences Inc. (Nasdaq:PBIO).
The effects of an oil spill, no matter the size, can be devastating on both marine and coastal life. Consequently, rapid and effective cleanup methods need to be in place before the next spill. Several technologies have been proposed and/or used to cleanup the spill in the Gulf, including the mechanical collection of oil and chemical dispersion. However, there is a growing sentiment toward finding and using natural biological solutions.
During the roundtable, scientists from academia and industry discussed the effectiveness of biological methods that can help improve our understanding of the marine environment, assess the impact that oil spills of any magnitude have on this complex yet delicate ecosystem, and help monitor the effectiveness and even be part of the cleanup procedure during remediation.
This important roundtable discussion was videotaped for future viewing. Visitors to the GEN website, the VDC webpage, the PBI website, and other sites will soon have access to it. GEN will make an announcement once the video is available.