Science: Ferrets in the Oilfields

Bacteria found in deep sea mud might soon make oil wells as buggy as vinegar works. Last week Dr. Claude E. ZoBell, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif., announced that he was well along on a process to infect exhausted oilsands with these bacteria.

Snuffling underground like fierce micro scopic ferrets, they would chase residual oil toward waiting wells.

Dr. ZoBell has busied himself for years with the microflora of oil strata, including sea-bottom muds where oil is thought to be formed. His original idea was to study how bacteria modify crude oil (TIME, Dec. 17, 1945). But in 1943,...

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