Teen Nivatha Balendra Discovers Oil-Eating Bacteria Strain


Nivatha Balendra, an 18-year-old student at Montreal’s Marianopolis College, may have found the answer to cleaning up oil spills in bodies of water right in her own backyard.

The young scientist found a particular strain of Pseudomonas fluorescens bacteria while rooting around in her backyard and along the St. Lawrence river. The bacteria is used in biocontrol methods — that is, organic solutions to controlling oil spills.

“I wanted to see if any of the bacteria found in soil samples had this oil-ingesting capacity,” Nivatha told CBC Daybreak’s Shawn Apel on Tuesday morning.

The discovery is taking the 18-year-old to Los Angeles in early May, where she’s a finalist at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

“Essentially, my project focuses on a more environmentally-friendly solution to [cleaning up] oil spills, which are of course the main instigators of water pollution, and water pollution is a really pressing issue that we’re facing today,” she continued…read more.

Feature image courtesy of CBC.

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