Recent Publications

Oil Jet with Dispersant: Macro-Scale Hydrodynamics and Tip Streaming

Zhao L, Gao F, Boufadel C. M. Oil Jet with Dispersant: Macro-Scale Hydrodynamics and Tip Streaming. AIChE Journal [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Modeling the movement of oil released underwater is a challenging task due to limitations in measuring the hydrodynamics in an oil-water system. In this work, we conducted an experiment of horizontal release of oil without and with dispersant. The model VDROP-J was used and compared to the model JETLAG, a miscible plume trajectory model. Both models were found to reproduce the oil jet hydrodynamics for oil without and with dispersant. The predicted DSD from VDROP-J matched closely observation for untreated oil. For oil with dispersant, experimental results have shown evidence that tip streaming occurred. For this purpose, a new conceptual module was developed in VDROP-J to capture the tip streaming phenomenon and an excellent match was achieved with observation. This study is the first to report tip streaming occurring in underwater oil jets, which should have consequences on predicting the DSD when dispersant are used on an underwater oil release. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2017
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An in-depth survey of the oil spill literature since 1968: Long term trends and changes since Deepwater Horizon

Murphy D, Gemmell B, Vacarri L, Li C, Bacosa H, Evans M, Gemmell C, Harvey T, Jalali M, Niepa THR. An in-depth survey of the oil spill literature since 1968: Long term trends and changes since Deepwater Horizon . Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2016;113 (1-2) :371-379. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In order to characterize the state of oil spill research and describe how the field has changed since its inception in the 1960s and since the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, we examined approximately 10% of oil spill literature (1255 of over 11,000 publications) published from 1968 to 2015. We find that, despite its episodic nature, oil spill research is a rapidly expanding field with a growth rate faster than that of science as a whole. There is a massive post-Deepwater Horizon shift of research attention to the Gulf of Mexico, from 2% of studies in 2004–2008 to 61% in 2014–2015, thus ranking Deepwater Horizon as the most studied oil spill. There is, however, a longstanding gap in research in that only 1% of studies deal with the effects of oil spills on human health. These results provide a better understanding of the current trends and gaps within the field.

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Candida albicans stimulates Streptococcus mutans microcolony development via cross-kingdom biofilm-derived metabolites

Kim D, Sengupta A, Niepa THR. Candida albicans stimulates Streptococcus mutans microcolony development via cross-kingdom biofilm-derived metabolites. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2017;7 (41332). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Candida albicans is frequently detected with heavy infection of Streptococcus mutans in plaque-biofilms from children affected with early-childhood caries, a prevalent and costly oral disease. The presence of C. albicans enhances S. mutans growth within biofilms, yet the chemical interactions associated with bacterial accumulation remain unclear. Thus, this study was conducted to investigate how microbial products from this cross-kingdom association modulate S. mutans build-up in biofilms. Our data revealed that bacterial-fungal derived conditioned medium (BF-CM) significantly increased the growth of S. mutans and altered biofilm 3D-architecture in a dose-dependent manner, resulting in enlarged and densely packed bacterial cell-clusters (microcolonies). Intriguingly, BF-CM induced S. mutans gtfBC expression (responsible for Gtf exoenzymes production), enhancing Gtf activity essential for microcolony development. Using a recently developed nanoculture system, the data demonstrated simultaneous microcolony growth and gtfB activation in situ by BF-CM. Further metabolites/chromatographic analyses of BF-CM revealed elevated amounts of formate and the presence of Candida-derived farnesol, which is commonly known to exhibit antibacterial activity. Unexpectedly, at the levels detected (25–50 μM), farnesol enhanced S. mutans-biofilm cell growth, microcolony development, and Gtf activity akin to BF-CM bioactivity. Altogether, the data provide new insights on how extracellular microbial products from cross-kingdom interactions stimulate the accumulation of a bacterial pathogen within biofilms.

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