Truth will rise above falsehood as oil above water.

Truth will rise above falsehood as oil above water. But what if water floats above oil? According to a new study published in Langmuir, tiny drops of water (<170 microliters) can stretch the oil surface like a rubber membrane, without breaking through (inset). Such water droplets could harbor oil-eating microbes that could mop up large oil spills like the one seen in this NASA image of the Deep Water Horizon disaster. These surface droplets can maintain high levels of dissolved oxygen due to direct exposure to the air, which is great news for bioremediation.

Movie: http://goo.gl/Xj6wQ

Paper: http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/la204820a

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41 Responses to Truth will rise above falsehood as oil above water.

  1. Dano DeBroux says:


    But will Google+ rise above Facebook? cast your votes 🙂 — http://www.allourideas.org/tvf

  2. Rajini Rao says:


    LOL, Dano DeBroux , Google+ will have to rise to make the poll first 🙂

  3. Dano DeBroux says:


    Rajini Rao I apologize for piggy-backing on your awesome post, but I REALLY needed some data for my upcoming paper. BTW, I allow for write-in options….despite its obvious complications in data analysis. 🙂

  4. Rajini Rao says:


    Oh, you’re serious..this is for a project? Sure, I’ll put in my vote 🙂

  5. Rajini Rao says:


    Mixed with the right surfactants, it should be possible to spray the surface of oil with water droplets that are small enough to not disrupt the oil/water/air interface.


  6. Reminds me of Ill Wind, a sci-fi by Kevin J Anderson about releasing microbes to eat up an oil spill. They got airborn and started devouring gas in cars etc… a good read! But also it’s good to use our technology wisely, and not jump the gun on testing.

  7. Rajini Rao says:


    Kneight Reinagel , (: ʇɹɐʇs ɐ ɹoɟ sǝqoɹɔıɯ ƃuıʇɐǝ lıo ƃuıɹɹnɔɔo ʎllɐɹnʇɐu ǝsn plnoɔ ʎǝɥʇ


  8. +Rajini Rao : is it because of the new version ? all the letters of your message are upside down 🙂 Am I the only one ?

  9. Rajini Rao says:


    Haha, nothing wrong with your eyes or G+. I was responding to a commentator whose profile pic was upside down 😉


  10. My mistake, funny though

  11. Rajini Rao says:


    Step 3: Loop to Step 1?

  12. Rajini Rao says:


    Tie in of Fleetwood Mac to topic of post masterfully executed, Feisal Kamil 😉

  13. Rajini Rao says:


    LOL, you can try. Wait ’til I post something on the gating of a potassium channel or on virus structures.

  14. Rajini Rao says:


    Potassium channel openings are as beautiful as a flower, Mahesh Sreekandath , and a virus can have the most intricate crystalline symmetry.

  15. Rajini Rao says:


    Mahesh Sreekandath , oil eating bacteria are naturally at work cleaning oil spills, but so far, efforts to speed up the process by seeding the spills have not worked (they were used for the Exxon Valdez spill). The optimum combination of nutrients, aeration and specific bacterial strains are needed. The paper described here is still theory, but the idea is that by having bacteria on top of the oil instead of under it there will be more oxygen available.

  16. Rajini Rao says:


    That was a sweet song, thanks Peter Lindelauf 🙂

  17. Rajini Rao says:


    Oil and water emulsify. Your physiology lesson of the day: bile salts emulsify the fats that you eat (oh yes, you do) into microparticles where the lipid droplet is surrounded by salts so that they can be digested and absorbed.

  18. Rajini Rao says:


    Yes, that’s about right (not necessary but more efficient).

  19. Chad Haney says:


    A lot of factories that have waste water treatment, basically have a big tank with bacteria and a stirring mechanism. The waste management person checks periodically to make sure the right bacteria are in the correct proportions. We had one at a coal tar refinery I worked at.

  20. Chad Haney says:


    Mahesh Sreekandath not that I know of. It’s pretty common.

  21. Rajini Rao says:


    Mahesh Sreekandath , I provide the guts and you bring in the gore 🙂 Chad Haney , when I was a grad student, we grew bacteria in giant fermenters (to purify proteins)..we controlled everything..pH, aeration, salts and sugar. So the challenge to replicate this in the open water is tremendous.

  22. Chad Haney says:


    Open water, for sure; bio-reactor in a factory, not a big problem.

  23. Rahul Joshi says:


    Truth will rise above falsehood as water above oil!


    Sounds mental! xD

  24. Rajini Rao says:


    Rahul Joshi , tell that to the author of that quote: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, who wrote Don Quijote de la Mancha 😉

  25. Rahul Joshi says:


    “As water above oil” Rajini Rao


    I’m sure (even) he will agree! 😉

  26. Rajini Rao says:


    An original Rahul Joshi quote. I like that. 🙂

  27. Rahul Joshi says:


    Mahesh Sreekandath Not in this context. My “mental” (ahem) is on the same wavelength as “loco” – to describe some “goofy shite”.


    Though I know where you’re coming from. Mental aka Mad eh? Now that is definitely an Indian thing 😉


    And then there is Mental Maths!

  28. Rahul Joshi says:


    Mahesh Sreekandath Hinglish is different. I’ve seen


    this “mental pattern” prevalent across the breadth of our country. TBH, I enjoy it. 🙂

  29. Rajini Rao says:


    In the US, the equivalent term would be “going postal” 🙂

  30. Chad Haney says:


    Thanks for the translation, Rajini. I don’t understand Hinglish too well. :~) BTW, in grad school, my lab was mostly Indian. I learned that a lot of Indians don’t know Hindi even though it’s the official language. One post doc from the Bengal region would specifically talk in his dialect for private conversations because he knew the boss wouldn’t know what he was talking about.

  31. Rajini Rao says:


    Chad Haney , It’s too bad that your graduate mentor allowed people to get away with conversing in different languages in the work place! It’s unprofessional and rude, in my opinion. For exactly the reason you bring up: person A could be gossiping about person B (boss or otherwise). I break up those sessions if I see them. They can talk in any language they desire in the lunch room or outside the lab, no problem with that 🙂 BTW, do you recall the funny scene in the Bad Project video where the girl finds tubes labeled in Chinese (or was it Korean)? I’m sure every lab has some mystery tubes stashed away in their freezers!

  32. Chad Haney says:


    Rajini Rao I should clarify, that most of the time those were phone conversations with his wife and I think he did it just to irritate the boss. The boss was a bad person, I can tell you about that offline. The rest of us didn’t care.


    My friend found the best way to deal with people talking in the lab in another language. He would walk up to them and say, “I agree 100%” and then walk away. The look on their faces was always priceless. Does he really know Mandarin?


    Don’t know about Bad Project video scene in question.

  33. Rajini Rao says:


    Chad Haney , kudos to your friend for the effective use of humor! The video I refer to is the famous Lady Gaga parody by a grad student. It went viral in the sci community..If you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat: Zheng Lab – Bad Project (Lady Gaga parody)

  34. Rahul Joshi says:


    Talking of Russell Peters, he says, unlike other fellow Indian names, his name is meaningless. At most it could be “rustle” – a crackling noise! 😀

  35. Chad Haney says:


    Rajini Rao I just watch Bad Project again. I never noticed that “the protocol is written in Thai” the first time. The tubes are labeled in Chinese I think. I’m pretty sure it isn’t Korean. I was just going to link for those that don’t know what we’re talking about but your reply just popped up. The new UI is snappier, I think.

  36. Rajini Rao says:


    You should post it, Chad Haney ! It hasn’t made the rounds here in a while 🙂 Rahul Joshi , funny thing to say re. meanings of names. Indians always know the meaning of their first names. Names of European origin do have roots, they tend to be harder to dig up. We’ll have to check on the name Russell to be sure.

  37. Rajini Rao says:


    Rahul Joshi : Russell r(u)-sse-ll as a boy’s name is pronounced RUSS-el. It is of Old French origin, and the meaning of Russell is “little red”. Also possibly refers to ruddy skin or to reddish hair.

  38. Chad Haney says:


    Reminds me of the girl renaming ceremony. http://goo.gl/qFeKq


    shedding names like “Nakusa” or “Nakushi,” which mean “unwanted” in Hindi

  39. Rajini Rao says:


    I remember that in the news, why would anyone pick a name with such a negative meaning? 😦

  40. Rahul Joshi says:


    Rajini Rao Wow I had no idea. Thanks!

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