J. Bio. Env. Sci.5(6), 416-424, December 2014
Biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons was investigated in contaminated soil surrounding Tehran Oil refining Co. Tehran, Iran. During the experiment which took 10 weeks, nitrogen and phosphorus amounts, total hydrocarbon utilizing bacteria (THUB), total heterotrophic bacteria (THB) and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) were specified. Also trend in TPHs removal and microbial population were studied. Results indicated that, after 10 weeks TPH level reduced from 25073.3 mg kg-1 to 7173.10 mg kg-1. The nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations also decreased during degradation. But the total hydrocarbon utilizing bacteria increased from 4.1×104 to 11. 9×104 cfu g-1 at the end of 6th week and finally reduced to 6.5×104 cfu g-1 at the end of experiment, while the THB reduced from 2.7×108 to 0.001×108 cfu g-1. In studied soils TPHs significantly has positive correlation with N and P and THB count and negative correlation with THUB. The low microbial correlation shows that a part of the hydrocarbon loss due to natural attenuation probably had to be attributed to abiotic processes. To conclusion, we demonstrated that a significant reduction in the level of one of the most common pollutants, petroleum waste, can be achieved even under unfavorable conditions.
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