Wild Diesel Destroyers
Megan Nantel
David Thompson
Floor Location : S 233 V

My project looks at the potential use of yeast, isolated from British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, to biodegrade diesel. Bioremediation, the use of a biological process (like yeast) to overcome environmental problems (like a hydrocarbon spill or hydrocarbon waste), is becoming more and more critical due to our desires to maintain environments and biodiversity. rnrnDiesel spills and oil spills are more common than I originally thought in BC and can have devastating effects on the environment. In addition, closed systems like oil drums, waste oil from cooking, and units from manufacturing companies present themselves as environmental dilemmas because they are difficult to dispose of easily. I became curious to see if wild yeast from the Okanagan could be used to solve some of these critical problems. rnrnIn order to test the ability of the 14 different yeast strains that I had isolated, I needed to develop an efficient and accurate protocol. Using yeast isolated from diesel itself as positive controls, I developed a method, using a redox indicator, to screen the microorganisms for their bioremediation potential. rnrnI also put the the 14 wild yeast through an acclimation assay. Previous papers suggested that certain strains of yeast have the ability to use hydrocarbons as a carbon source but they need to turn on certain genes in order to be capable of doing this. Through acclimation, gradually increasing the amount of diesel in the system, I tried to introduce diesel to the yeast without shocking them. rnrnMy project has focused on developing and optimizing protocols to test bioremediation potential, acclimation, and bioremediation efficiency of wild yeast. Some previous tests have been done on microorganisms like these in the past but they have mostly tested bacteria not yeast. I needed to determine an efficient way to test the yeast that I have, keeping in mind that wild yeast can behave very differently than lab strains. rnrnYeast are easy to grow and relatively safe to work with. This means that if they are able to biodegrade diesel, they could become a great tool for a variety of bioremediation processes.