USM scientists are working to protect wildlife from oil spills

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - On this one year anniversary of the Gulf oil spill, some University of Southern Mississippi researchers have made progress in developing an environmentally friendly oil dispersant.

All three of the scientists that are working on the project are from the University's Polymer Science department including the program's chair, Robert Lochhead.

They have been working with funds from the National Science Foundation to produce a new kind of dispersant that will prevent oil from sticking to natural surfaces like grass, soil and bird feathers.

According to Lochhead, "So that is the big thing, we are going to protect wildlife, that's exciting."

Currently, the product is in a phase called Proof of Concept. The scientists anticipate about three more years of testing to determine if the product is safe and effective before it can be marketed for commercial use.

In addition to being bio-degradable, the product is also safe for animal consumption. It contains the same emulsifier that is used to make chocolate smooth.

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