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Issue 10, 2009
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A review of oil-suspended particulate matter aggregation—a natural process of cleansing spilled oil in the aquatic environment

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Abstract

It has been acknowledged that following an oil spill in coastal areas where suspended particulate matter (SPM) is rich, aggregation between oil and SPM can be naturally formed. This kind of aggregation product is termed as oil-SPM aggregates (OSAs). Because OSAs are not as sticky to the shorelines as crude oil and the oil–water contact area is greatly increased due to the formation of OSAs, both oil dispersion into the water body and oil biodegration would be significantly enhanced. In this review article, the authors (1) describe in detail the mechanism of OSA formation and controlling parameters which can influence OSA formation (the parameters discussed include the oil nature and properties, sediment types and concentrations, and the environmental factors such as salinity, temperature and mixing energy); (2) briefly review qualitative and quantitative methods used for characterization of OSA formation (two main methods used for the OSA characterization are the UV epi-fluorescence microscopy and gas chromatography equipped with flame ionization detector (GC-FID); (3) elucidate the applications of OSA formation in oil spill response strategies including natural attenuation, sediment relocation, and sediment mixing; and (4) discuss research needs in the future which would further improve our understanding of OSA formation and move towards the development of adequate oil behaviour models.

Graphical abstract: A review of oil-suspended particulate matter aggregation—a natural process of cleansing spilled oil in the aquatic environment

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Publication details

The article was received on 09 Mar 2009, accepted on 08 Jun 2009 and first published on 29 Jun 2009


Article type: Critical Review
DOI: 10.1039/B904829B
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2009,11, 1801-1809
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    A review of oil-suspended particulate matter aggregation—a natural process of cleansing spilled oil in the aquatic environment

    J. Sun and X. Zheng, J. Environ. Monit., 2009, 11, 1801
    DOI: 10.1039/B904829B

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