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"Oily sheen on water"

John Penny j.penny at bell.ac.uk
Thu Sep 19 07:40:43 EST 1996

I read once (sorry I've forgotten the reference) that these oily
sheens are produced through the anaerobic decomposition of plant waxes
and other constituents. When I am out walking in the hills, I often
observe them in boggy bits near field gateways and the like. I presume
this is because they produced during decomposition of faecal material
produced by the cattle or sheep in the field.

John Penny
Dept of Biological & chemical Sciences,
Bell College of Technology, Hamilton ML3 0JB, Strathclyde, Scotland
j.penny at bell.ac.uk

rjones at TRENTU.CA (Roger Jones) wrote:

>I am trying to find out the cause of what appears to be a film of "oil" 
>on water draining from waterlogged or "boggy" soil. Are there bacteria 
>which synthesise hydrocarbons or is the oily sheen the result of 
>decomposition of plant waxes or other naturally occurring products, for 

>Roger Jones, Department of Biology, Trent University,
>Peterborough, Ontario, Can. K9J 7B8
>Telephone (705) 748 1312.  Fax (705) 748 1205

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