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Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences
ISSN: 2319-7706 Volume 4 Number 3 (2014) pp. 892-905
http://www.ijcmas.com
Original Research Article
Hydrocarbon Bioremediation Efficiency by five Indigenous Bacterial Strains
isolated from Contaminated Soils
Sudhir K Shekhar*, Jai Godheja and D.R. Modi
Department of Biotechnology, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (A Central
University), Lucknow, India
*Corresponding author
ABSTRACT
Keywords
Bioremediation,
Petrol,
Benzene,
Toluene,
Xylene and
Cyclohexane
Twenty hydrocarbon degrading microorganism were isolated from four
hydrocarbon contaminated sites and were identified on the basis of morphological
and biochemical characteristics as Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia
coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The study revealed
high density of bacteria acclimatized for biodegradation of hydrocarbon (Petrol) in
soil. The isolates were examined for other hydrocarbon degradation in media
supplemented with Benzene, Toluene, Xylene and Cyclohexane at three different
concentrations viz 5%, 10% and 15% incubated for 3 different time intervals 5, 10
and 15 days. The results indicated that all the isolates possessed potential to
degrade the wide variety of hydrocarbons. The most efficient among them was
Pseudomonas aeruginosa which degraded all tested hydrocarbon showing
maximum growth at 5% concentration and 10 days incubation. It could be
concluded that native flora of hydrocarbon contaminated site adapt to the
environmental condition and could be implicated to remove hydrocarbons.
Introduction
In the last years, a large number of
ecosystems have been changed by the
growing influence of human activity. As a
result, many people have become aware of
the need to protect ecosystems as well as to
evaluate
the
damage
caused
by
contamination. During the previous years, the
frequency and risk of oil pollution has lead to
extensive research. Most of the petroleum
goes in the ecosystem via leak of coastal
oil refineries. Approximately five million
tons of crude oil and refined oil enter the
environment each year as a result of
anthropogenic sources such as oil spills
(Hinchee and Kitte, 1995).
Hydrocarbon pollutants are amongst the most
reported pollution worldwide (Shukor et al,
2009). Polyaromatic hydrocarbons in the
environment originate from anthropogenic
source like mineral oil. Numerous bacteria,
fungi and algae have been isolated for the
breakdown of aromatic hydrocarbons as
carbon and energy sources (Cerniglia, 1992;
Lal et al., 2004; Pathak et al. 2008). The
degradation pathways have been -elucidated
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Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
PAHs present as natural constituents in
fossils fuels, are formed during the
incomplete combustion of organic materials
( Lee et al., 1981; Wang et al., 1999; Desche
Anes et al., 1996). PAHs can exert toxic
effects or possess mutagenic, teratogenic, or
carcinogenic properties (Heitkamp and
Cerniglia, 1987).
the hydrocarbons as carbon source.
Biodegradation by indigenous populations of
microorganisms is one of the primary
mechanisms by which petroleum and other
hydrocarbon pollutants can be removed from
the environment (Ulrici et al.,2000) and this
process is also cheaper than the other
remediation
technologies
(Leahy
et
al.,1990).
Some microorganisms can utilize the
hydrocarbons as sole carbon sources for
getting their energy and metabolic activities
(Jyothi et al.,2012). Biodegradation is a
complex process that depends on the nature
of petroleum and also on the amount of the
hydrocarbons present (Das et al.,2011). The
microbes can utilize the hydrocarbons
depending on the chemical nature of the
compounds within the petroleum mixture
(Adeline
et
al.,2009).
Hydrocarbon
degrading microorganisms usually exist in
very low abundance in aquatic environments
(Sivaraman et al., 2011). Biodegradation of
bacteria is considered as the most active
process in petroleum degradation and they
are the primary degraders of spilled oil
(Rahman et al.,2003; Brooijmans et al.,2009)
and this is specially carried out largely by
diverse bacterial populations, mostly by
Pseudomonas species (Boboye et al.,2010;
Dubey et al.,2009).
Materials and Methods
Samples were collected randomly from Fuel
oil pumps of Mathura oil refinery, Barauni
oil refinery, Haldia oil refinery, Paradip oil
refinery at a depth within 1-5cm from the
surface of the soil using sterile spatula and
were placed in pre sterilized polythene bags
and tightly packed. Samples were
immediately transferred to the laboratory for
analysis and stored at 4°C for further
processing.
Isolation
Bacteria
of
Hydrocarbon
degrading
One gram of dried soil sample was dissolved
in 9ml of distilled water and agitated
vigorously. A 10 fold serial dilution was
done followed pour plate method. Soil
sample was serially diluted upto 10-7
dilution and 1 ml from each dilution poured
in Petri plate followed by addition of 20ml
of molten Bushnell Haas-Agar medium at
around 50°C. After gently rotating, the
plates were incubated at 37°C for 24 hours
and uninoculated plate was serve as media
control and then enumeration of different
isolates were carried out (Santhiniet al.,
2009). Culturally different colonies were
selected and streaked over Bushnell HassAgar medium supplemented with 5% petrol.
Uninoculated media plate was serve as
control. Incubation was done at 28˚C for
upto7 days and growth were examined.
Isolates were maintained on Nutrient agar
There are so many known consortia of
microorganisms which can degrade mineral
oil hydrocarbons under laboratory or field
conditions (Ratajczak et al.,1998; Wikstrom
et al.,1996). This work is concentrated on
isolation and identification of hydrocarbon
degrading bacteria associated with petrol and
diesel oil contaminated sites in India and also
to test their ability to degrade different
hydrocarbons. The expected interpretation of
this study will provide information on the
bacterial population, hydrocarbon-degrading
microorganisms and their degrading ability
of diesel because these bacteria can utilize
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Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
slants which were subcultured at 15 days
interval and were incubated at 37°C for 2442 hours and then stored at 4°C.
Benzene, Toluene, Xylene, Cyclohexane.
Identification of hydrocarbon utilizing
bacteria
Isolation of Hydrocarbon degrading Bacteria
Results and Discussion
The samples of hydrocarbon contaminated soil
supplemented with various hydrocarbons
showed the growth of Pseudomonas
aeruoginosa, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus,
E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus. These
organisms were found to be actively growing in
petrol during the study of the 40 hydrocarbon
contaminated soils. A total of twenty positive
isolates of bacterial species were identified out
of which 9 (45%) were isolated from Mathura
oil refinery, 6 (30 %) from Barauni oil refinery,
4 (20 %) from Haldia oil refinery and 1 (5 %)
from Paradip oil refinery. Maximum isolates
were of Psuedomonas aeruginosa 9 (45%)
followed by Bacillus subtilis 6 (30 %), Bacillus
cereus 3 (15 %), E. Coli 1 (5 %) and
Staphylococcus aureus 1 (5%).
The identification was done by cultural
(margin, colour, texture and elevation),
morphological and biochemical analysis as
per Bergey’s Manual of Systemic
Bacteriology (Holt et al., 1994).
Effect of Temperature and pH
The effect of temperature and pH on the
growth and degradation will be studied by
using Bushnell-Haas broth supplemented
with petrol (5%) will inoculate with the
isolates and
incubate at
different
temperatures (10°C, 20°C, 30°C, 40°C,
50°C) and different pH (5.5, 6.5, 7.5, 8.5
and 9.5) for this uninoculated tubes will be
serve as control. Growth and degradation of
the organism will be assayed by optical
density (O.D) measurement at 600nm.
(Rahman and Rahman, 2002).
Microbial distribution in
contaminated soil samples.
Hydrocarbon
The highest population was observed from
the soil sample of Mathura oil refinery. The
bacterial counts were recorded as 4.26 x 106
in this sample. Plate count of viable bacteria
from Barauni oil refinery and Haldia oil
refinery was determined to be in order of 3.4
x 106 and 3.04 x 106. The least count of
bacteria was determined in the soil sample
from Paradip oil refinery as 2.58 x 106.
Evaluation of the specific degradation
capacity of selected solid and liquid
hydrocarbons
Biodegradation capability of the organism
were determined the method given by
Santhinietal., (2009). In order to monitor the
liquid hydrocarbon degradation, overnight
cultures were inoculated on Bushnell-Haas
medium at pH 7.0 supplemented with
hydrocarbon (5-15%v/v) then the tubes were
incubated at 37°C. Uninoculated medium
with hydrocarbon were served as a control.
Growth of the organism was assayed by
optical density (O.D) measurement at
620nm. The inoculated and uninoculated
tubes were incubated at 37°C for 5-15 days
and examined regularly for growth in
Identification
bacteria
of
hydrocarbon
utilizing
After evaluation of colony morphology, cell
morphology, utilization of carbon source and
biochemical characteristics the isolates were
identified as Pseudomonas aeruoginosa,
Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, E.coli and
Staphylococcus aureus.
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Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
the concentrations of hydrocarbons, 5%
hydrocarbons concentration was found to be
most effective for degradation as compared
to
10%
and
15%
hydrocarbons
concentration.
Effect of Temperature on hydrocarbon
degrading bacteria
Hydrocarbon degrading bacteria grow
optimally in a wide range of temperature
ranging from 270C to 370C. Growth
decreases
dramatically
at
higher
temperature. Pseudomonas aeruoginosa
showed highest growth at 30°C temperature
at media supplemented with 5% petrol while
Bacillus cereus and Bacillus subtilis showed
maximum growth at 40°C whereas E.coli
and Staphylococcus aureus showed high
growth at 30°C. All these bacteria show less
growth at low as well as high temperature.
Hydrocarbon degradation capacity of
Bacillus subtilis.
Among the hydrocarbons used for the
evaluation of the degradation ability for
Bacillus subtilis, benzene (0.67) was
maximally degraded, followed by the
hydrocarbons toluene (0.65), cyclohexane
(0.54), xylene (0.51) and petrol (0.47). The
concentration of 5% was found to be more
pronounced for the degradation of the
hydrocarbons by Bacillus subtilis as
compared to 10% and 15% concentrations.
Effect of pH on hydrocarbon degrading
bacteria
Maintenance of pH in bacterial medium is
important since pH strongly affect bacterial
growth. The optimal pH that supported
growth of bacteria was range between 6.5 to
7.5 Pseudomonas aeruoginosa Bacillus
subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus
aureus and E. coli showed highest growth at
pH 7.5 at media supplemented with 5%
petrol. All these bacteria show very low
growth at low as well as high pH.
There was significant increase in the
degradation of hydrocarbons by Bacillus
subtilis with respect to the time, i.e. from 0
days towards 15 days.
Hydrocarbon degradation capacity of
Bacillus cereus.
The degradation capacity of bacillus cereus
was observed maximum with petrol (0.52)
followed by other hydrocarbon viz xylene
(0.5), cyclohexane (0.48), toluene (0.47) and
benzene (0.46). The degradation was found
to gradually increase up to 15 days of
incubation.
Hydrocarbon degradation capacity of
Pseudomonas aeruoginosa.
Among the hydrocarbons used for the
degradation studies by Pseudomonas
aeruoginosa degradation was observed
maximum in petrol (0.68) followed by
cyclohexane (0.65), toluene (0.64), xylene
(0.62) and with a minimum hydrocarbons
degradation with benzene (0.53).
A decreasing trend in optical density was
observed. Even with bacillus cereus 5%
hydrocarbon concentration was found to be
optimum for hydrocarbon degradation.
Significant increase in the degradation of
hydrocarbon by bacillus cereus was found
with respect to time, i.e., from 0 hour to 15
days, then a decrease towards 15 days at
10% and 15% concentration was observed.
The degradation process was observed to
gradually increase with the peak value at 10
days and then a gradual decrease in the
optical density was observed. While testing
895
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
energy at 5% concentration of petrol. The
isolate found positive for growth on
screened plates were identified on the basis
of cultural, morphological and biochemical
analysis and were further assessed for their
growth potential for selected hydrocarbons
at varying concentrations (5%, 10%, and
15%) incubated for three different time
intervals i.e. 5 days, 10 days, and 15 days.
The present investigation revealed that
indigenous bacterial population isolated
from hydrocarbon contaminated sites could
be used for insitu bioremediation purpose. A
total of 20 positive isolates were obtained,
out of which Psuedomonas aeruginosa
showed maximum occurrence while E. coli
and Staphylococcus aureus showed least
occurrence. Analysis of temperature and pH
optimization showed that all the bacterial
species were most active at 400C-500C and
pH 7.5 respectively. Upon analyzing the
growth potential of isolates at different
concentration (5%, 10%, and 15%) of
hydrocarbons and different time of
incubation (5, 10 and 15 days) it was found
that the bacterial species showed maximum
growth at 15 days incubation and 5 %
concentration and also at 10 days incubation
and 5 % concentration
Hydrocarbon degradation capacity of
E.coli
The degradation capacity of E.coli was
observed maximum with cyclohexane (0.49)
followed by other hydrocarbon viz petrol
(0.43), toluene (0.43), xylene (0.42) and
benzene (0.41). A decreasing trend in optical
density was observed. Even with E.coli 5%
hydrocarbon concentration was found to be
optimum for hydrocarbon degradation at 10
days. Significant increase in the degradation
of hydrocarbon by E.coli was found with
respect to time, i.e., from 0 hour to 15 days,
then a decrease towards 15 days at 10% and
15% concentration was observed.
Hydrocarbon degradation capacity of
Staphylococcus aureus.
Among the hydrocarbons used for the
degradation studies by Staphylococcus
aureus degradation was observed maximum
in petrol (0.39) followed by xylene (0.35),
benzene (0.34), cyclohexane (0.33) and
toluene
(0.26).
While
testing
the
concentrations of hydrocarbons, 10%
hydrocarbons concentration was found to be
most effective for degradation as compared
to 5% and 15% hydrocarbons concentration.
A significant increase in the degradation of
Hydrocarbon by Staphylococcus aureus was
observed with increase in time (i.e. from 0
days to 10 days) and a decrease at 15 days at
10% and 15% concentrations.
The study highlighted the potential of
bacterial
population
isolated
from
hydrocarbon
contaminated
soil
for
bioremediation of hydrocarbon polluted
area, spills as it offers effective degradation
of various fractions of hydrocarbons at wide
range of concentration and time duration.
Therefore, bioremediation of toxicant
hydrocarbons in soil or spill have a better
option
of
environmentally
adopted
microflora that effect detoxification and
stabilization of processes of biological
degradation with low economical expenses
and of no danger for environment.
Summary and Conclusion
For the investigation ten soil samples each
from
four
different
hydrocarbon
contaminated sites were obtained and used
for isolation and enumeration of bacteria
after which the culturally different colonies
were purified and screened for hydrocarbon
utilization as sole source of carbon and
896
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
Table.1 Incidence of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria
Sample Sites
No of positive
n=40
isolates
Mathura oil refinery
9
(n=10)
6
Barauni oil refinery
(n=10)
4
Haldia oil refinery
(n=10)
1
Paradip oil refinery
(n=10)
20
Total sample (n=40)
Individual Incidence
P. aeruginosa B. subtilis B. cereus
4(45%)
2(22.2%) 1(11.1%)
E. coli
1(11%)
S. aureus
1(11%)
2(33.3%)
3(50%)
1(16.6%)
0(0%)
0(0%)
2(50%)
1(25%)
1(25%)
0(0%)
0(0%)
1(100%)
0(0%)
0(0%)
0(0%)
0(0%)
9(45%)
6(30%)
3(15%)
1(5%)
1(5%)
Table 2: Microbial distribution
Sample sites
Mathura oil refinery
Barauni oil refinery
Haldia oil refinery
Paradip oil refinery
Soil sample size
n=40
n=10
n=10
n=10
n=10
Average cfu
g/ml(106)
4.26
3.4
3.04
2.58
Fig 1: Effect of temperature on growth of bacteria at 5% petrol
897
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
Table 3: Biochemical chart
Biochemical
characteristics
Saphylococcus
auries
Golden yellow
+A
+A
+A
+A
+A
+
+
_
+
+
_
_
_
+
+
_
_
_
+
+
+ AG
_
_
+A
Pseudomonas
aeruginosa
Entire
Convex
No
+A
Regular
Convex
Circular
large
Smooth
Glistening
No
+ AG
Bacillus
cereus
Cell
morphology
Shiny yellow
Bacillus
subtilis
Carbon
source
White
Entire
Flat
Irregular
large
Creamy
white
Undulate
Unbonate
Circular
flat
White
waxy
Undulate
Flat
Irregular
large
Opacity
Opaque
opaque
Opaque
Pigmentation
Glucose
Blue-green
_
No
+A
Sucrose
_
Mannose
Xylose
Arabinose
Lactose
Gram stain
reaction
Cell shape
Characteristics
Colony
morphology
E. coli
Hydrocarbon degrading bacteria from soil
Color
White
Margin
Elevation
Shape
Oxidase test
Catalase test
Starch
hydrolysis test
M.R
V.P
Indole test
Citrate
utilization test
Gelatin
liquefication
Lipid
Hydrolysis
H2S Reduction
Nitrate
Reduction
Urease Activity
Circular
Opaque
+
_
Cylindrical
rods
+
+
Rods
+
Rods
_
Rods
+
Coccus
+
_
+
_
_
+
_
+
_
_
+
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
+
_
+
+
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
+
+
+
_
+
+
_
_
_
+
_
+
+
_
_
A = Acid, AG = Acid with gas
898
_
_
+
_
+
+
+
_
_
_
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
Table 4: Effect of temperature on growth of bacteria in 5% petrol
Temperature
P. aeruginosa
B. subtilis
B. cereus
E. coli
S. aureus
10°C
0.29
0.23
0.18
0.19
0.14
20°C
0.47
0.39
0.38
0.35
0.32
30°C
0.65
0.59
0.58
0.48
0.45
40°C
0.57
0.61
0.59
0.42
0.40
Table 5: Effect of pH on growth of bacteria at 5% petrol
pH
5.5
6.5
7.5
8.5
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
0.43
0.58
0.65 0.38
B. subtilis
0.48
0.56
0.64 0.32
B. cereus
0.45
0.50
0.62 0.30
E. coli
0.3
0.45
0.59 0.42
S. aureus
0.28
0.43
0.58 0.48
50°C
0.32
0.34
0.42
0.29
0.28
9.5
0.2
0.10
0.14
0.18
0.19
Fig 2: Effect of pH on growth of bacteria at 5% petrol
Table 6: Hydrocarbon degrading ability of Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Petrol
Benzene
Toluene
Xylene
Cyclohexane
0 days
5% 10%
0.02 0.05
0.01 0.04
0.02 0.04
0.02 0.04
0.02 0.04
15%
0.06
0.06
0.06
0.06
0.05
5 days
5% 10%
0.52 0.29
0.39 0.48
0.57 0.49
0.5 0.41
0.59 0.46
899
15%
0.3
0.39
0.36
0.25
0.45
10 days
5% 10%
0.67 0.57
0.49 0.52
0.59 0.56
0.59 0.49
0.64 0.48
15%
0.39
0.43
0.46
0.45
0.48
15 days
5% 10%
0.68 0.51
0.53 0.50
0.64 0.59
0.62 0.57
0.65 0.53
15%
0.44
0.45
0.42
0.42
0.54
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
Fig 3: Hydrocarbon degradation ability of Psuedomonas aeruginosa
Table 7: Hydrocarbon degrading ability of Bacillus subtilis
Petrol
Benzene
Toluene
Xylene
Cyclohexane
0 days
5% 10%
0.03 0.04
0.01 0.04
0.01 0.03
0.02 0.03
0.02 0.04
15%
0.06
0.06
0.05
0.05
0.05
5 days
5% 10%
0.39 0.42
0.50 0.36
0.58 0.44
0.41 0.43
0.45 0.37
15%
0.19
0.15
0.28
0.35
0.30
10 days
5% 10%
0.46 0.46
0.67 0.42
0.63 0.50
0.48 0.48
0.54 0.39
15%
0.27
0.23
0.34
0.38
0.33
Fig 4: Hydrocarbon degradation ability of Bacillus subtilis
900
15 days
5% 10%
0.44 0.47
0.62 0.44
0.65 0.43
0.51 0.50
0.52 0.40
15%
0.28
0.24
0.31
0.39
0.35
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
Table 8: Hydrocarbon degrading ability of Bacillus cereus
0 days
5%
Petrol
Benzene
Toluene
Xylene
Cyclohexan
e
0.0
3
0.0
2
0.0
2
0.0
2
0.0
3
5 days
10
%
15
%
0.04 0.05
5%
10
%
0.4
0.43 0.34
0.3
0.04 0.06 1
0.3
0.05
0.06 2
0.05
0.06 0.3
0.3
0.04 0.05 7
15
%
0.27 0.05
0.28 0.1
0.28 0.06
0.4
0.24
10 days
10
5%
%
0.4
0.48
9
0.4
0.35
3
0.4
0.34
7
0.4
0.37
9
0.4
0.44
4
15 days
15
10
5%
%
%
0.5
0.38
0.5
2
0.4
0.21
0.43
6
0.4
0.18
0.27
4
0.16 0.5
0.31
0.4
8
15
%
0.44
0.26
0.22
0.29 0.34
0.46 0.3
Fig 5: Hydrocarbon degradation ability of Bacillus cereus
Table 9: Hydrocarbon degrading ability of E. coli
Petrol
Benzene
Toluene
Xylene
Cyclohexane
0 days
5% 10%
0.02 0.04
0.02 0.04
0.02 0.03
0.02 0.04
.02 .04
15%
0.06
.05
0.04
0.05
.06
5 days
5% 10%
0.41 0.28
0.37 0.29
0.38 0.35
0.37 0.26
0.36 0.22
901
15%
0.11
0.18
0.18
0.22
0.21
10 days
5% 10%
0.43 0.31
0.39 0.29
0.43 0.37
0.42 0.30
0.49 0.35
15%
0.17
0.22
0.26
0.25
0.20
15 days
5% 10%
0.36 0.22
0.41 0.24
0.41 0.29
0.35 0.29
0.44 0.42
15%
0.20
0.25
0.29
0.29
0.31
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
902
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
Fig 6: Hydrocarbon degradation ability of E. coli
Table 10: Hydrocarbon degrading ability of Staphylococcus aureus
0 days
5% 10%
Petrol
0.02 0.03
Benzene
0.01 0.02
Toluene
0.02 0.03
Xylene
0.02 0.04
Cyclohexane 0.02 0.03
15%
0.04
0.05
0.04
0.05
0.04
5 days
5% 10%
0.2 0.26
0.22 0.24
0.14 0.19
0.16 0.03
0.03 0.06
15%
0.08
0.1
0.05
0.07
0.12
10 days
5% 10%
0.25 0.39
0.27 0.34
0.26 0.23
0.24 0.11
0.28 0.29
15%
0.19
0.08
0.09
0.02
0.09
15 days
5% 10%
0.27 0.21
0.33 0.24
0.2 0.05
0.35 0.21
0.33 0.21
Fig 7: Hydrocarbon degradation ability of Staphylococcus aureus
903
15%
0.15
0.11
0
0.17
0.26
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2015) 4(3) 892-905
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