Petroleum pollutant degradation by surface water microorganisms
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Background, Aims and Scope. It is well known that the composition of petroleum or some of its processing products changes in the environment mostly under the influence of microorganisms. A series of experiments was conducted in order to define the optimum conditions for an efficient biodegradation of petroleum pollutant, or bioremediation of different segments of the environment. The aim of these investigations was to show to what extent the hydrocarbons of a petroleum pollutant are degraded by microbial cultures which were isolated as dominant microorganisms from a surface water of a wastewater canal of an oil refinery and a nitrogen plant. Biodegradation experiments were conducted on one paraffinic, and one naphthenic type of petroleum during a three month period under aerobic conditions, varying the following parameters: Inorganic (Kp) or an organic medium (Bh) with or without exposition to light. Methods. Microorganisms were analyzed in a surface water sample from a canal (Pancevo,... Serbia), into which wastewater from an oil refinery and a nitrogen plant is released. The consortia of microorganisms were isolated from the water sample (most abundant species: Phormidium foveolarum - filamentous Cyanobacteria, blue-green algae and Achanthes minutissima, diatoms, algae). The simulation experiments of biodegradation were conducted with the biomass suspension and crude oils Sirakovo (Sir, paraffinic type) and Velebit (Ve, naphthenic type). After a three month period, organic substance was extracted by means of chloroform. In the extracts, the content of saturated hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, alcohols and fatty acids was determined (the group composition). n-Alkanes and isoprenoid aliphatic alkanes, pristane and phytane, in the aliphatic fractions, were analyzed using gas chromatography (GC). Total isoprenoid aliphatic alkanes and polycyclic alkanes of sterane and triterpane types were analyzed by GC-MS. Results and Discussion. Paraffinic type petroleums have a significant loss of saturated hydrocarbons. For naphthenic type petroleum, such a trend has not been observed. The most intensive degradation of n-alkanes and isoprenoid aliphatic alkanes (in paraffinic oil) and isoprenoids (in naphthenic oil) was observed using the inorganic medium Kp in the light; the microbial conversion is somewhat lower with Kp in the dark; with organic medium Bh in the light the degradation is of low intensity; with the same medium in the dark the degradation is hardly to be seen. Steranes and triterpanes were not affected by microbial degradation under the conditions used in our experiments. Obviously, the petroleum biodegradation was restricted to the acyclic aliphatics (n-alkanes and isoprenoids). Conclusion. Phormidium foveolarum (filamentous Cyanobacteria - blue-green algae) and Achanthes minutissima (diatoms, algae), microbial cultures isolated as dominant algae from a surface water in a wastewater canal of an oil refinery and a nitrogen plant, have degradable effects dominantly involving petroleum hydocarbons. Petroleum microbiological degradation is more intensive when inorganic medium (in the light) is applied. Having in mind that the inorganic pollutants have been released into the canal as well, this medium reflects more the natural environmental conditions. Polycyclic alkanes of sterane and triterpane type, in spite of the fact that these compounds could be degraded, have remained unchanged regarding abundance and distribution. Since this is the case even for naphthenic type petroleum (which is depleted in n-alkanes), it can be concluded that the biodegradation of petroleum type pollutants, under natural conditions, will be restrained to the n-alkane and isoprenoid degradation. Recommendation and Outlook. Performed experiments and simulations of petroleum microbiological degradation may serve for the prediction of the fate of petroleum type pollutants, as well as for definition of conditions for bioremediation of some environmental segments.
Keywords:Achanthes minutissima / n-alkanes and isoprenoids / petroleum pollutant / Phormidium foveolarum / simulation of biodegradation / steranes and triterpanes / surface water
Source:Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2006, 13, 5, 320-327
- Ecomed Publishers, Landsberg