Biodegradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Marine and

Biodegradation of Petroleum
Hydrocarbons in Marine and
Freshwater Environments
 Purpose: to review the process and applications of
 Influencing factors (chemical, temperature,
 Methods of biodegradation
Chemical Composition
 Has the most significant effect on biodegradability
 Four ranks of susceptibility (linear
alkanes>branched alkanes>small aromatics>cyclic
Linear – methane, propane
Branched – iso, neopentane
Aromatics - benzene
Cyclic - cyclopropane
 Controls pollutant chemistry and bacterial growth
 Can take place over wide range of temperatures
(correlates directly)
 Most effective in fresh water between 20-30°C
 Nitrogen, phosphorous, and iron play a vital role
 Especially important in freshwater
 Overabundance can hinder biodegradation rate
Methods - Bioaugmentation
 The introduction of cultured microorganisms into an
environment in which they are capable of
biodegrading and mineralizing contaminants.
 Used when the contaminated site lacks microbes
with the catabolic potential or to supplement the
indigenous microbes
 Enlarges gene pool for more genetic variation and
faster reproduction (increased biodegradation rate)
Methods - Biostimulation
 The addition of rate limiting nutrients such as
phosphorus, nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon
 Used when capable microbes are present, but lack
nutrients needed to sustain
 Both bacteria and nutrients introduced through
injection wells, slurry walls, or trenches
 Biodegradation of hydrocarbons is a complex process
that relies on the nature of the hydrocarbon, and the
 Main problem with this method is the lack of
knowledge on proper bacterial strain use
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