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Image: MBARI

GenoMape – using genosensors for environmental monitoring in offshore operations


Biomiljø is leading new project on next generation monitoring technology

This  project - recently financed by the Research Council of Norway -   is addressing next generation monitoring technology  in order to  meet  today’s and future  regulatory requirements   to offshore operations,  and to be in line with expectations held by society at large that operations should be environmentally friendly.
 GenoMape includes a high level of novelty for the offshore industries, environmental managers and the scientific world. Here, we will explore the application of the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP). The ESP is  an  unmanned platform enabling real- time,  advanced DNA-based measurements at sea to detect changes in bacterial communities,  used as signatures of environmental pollution by oil.
Crude oil pollution affects strongly and rapidly the composition of bacterial communities    in the water, with the dominance of  oil-degrading bacteria. Consequently, specific changes in bacterial communities can be used as an effective biosensor for oil contamination in the marine environment and the ESP is a robotized platform enabling their real-time monitoring at sea.
In  previous work  a selection of oil-specific bacteria was made and DNA-based protocols programmed into  the ESP were tested to determine the capacity to reveal and quantify these bacteria.   The GenoMape project  will explore further DNA-assays and  the capacity of the  ESP to   identify oil-degrading bacteria using existing and future ESP analytical units  like the surface plasmon resonance (SPR).
Laboratory tests will be the carried out and later the instrument will be deployed  in a Norwegian fjord to demonstrate the full functionality, from detection to communication.
The innovative development and goals embedded in this project will contribute  towards  society’s acceptance for development of  the oil and gas industry, particularly in sensitive areas, minimize the environmental footprint and reduce the environmental risk.

IRIS is leading the project.  Prof. Clement Furlong and Dr. Scott Soelberg at the University of Washington (Seattle, USA) are partners for the surface plasmon resonance WP.
Project leader:
Dr. Thierry Baussant
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