A review of oil, dispersed oil and sediment interactions in the aquatic environment: influence on the fate, transport and remediation of oil spills

Mar Pollut Bull. 2014 Feb 15;79(1-2):16-33. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.12.024. Epub 2013 Dec 31.


The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has spurred significant amounts of researches on fate, transport, and environmental impacts of oil and oil dispersants. This review critically summarizes what is understood to date about the interactions between oil, oil dispersants and sediments, their roles in developing oil spill countermeasures, and how these interactions may change in deepwater environments. Effects of controlling parameters, such as sediment particle size and concentration, organic matter content, oil properties, and salinity on oil-sediment interactions are described in detail. Special attention is placed to the application and effects of oil dispersants on the rate and extent of the interactions between oil and sediment or suspended particulate materials. Various analytical methods are discussed for characterization of oil-sediment interactions. Current knowledge gaps are identified and further research needs are proposed to facilitate sounder assessment of fate and impacts of oil spills in the marine environment.

Keywords: Dispersants; Dispersed oil; Oil spill; Oil–sediment interaction; Sediment; Sorption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry
  • Petroleum / analysis*
  • Petroleum Pollution / analysis*
  • Petroleum Pollution / statistics & numerical data
  • Surface-Active Agents / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Petroleum
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical