Biodegradation of crude oil in seawater by using a consortium of symbiotic bacteria

Lai Fatt Chuah, Kit Wayne Chew, Awais Bokhari, Muhammad Mubashir, Pau Loke Show

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This work presents the enhancement of oil biodegradation in seawater using a mixture of oil and microorganisms. Retardation of crude oil biodegradation in seawater is hypothetically due to the inhibiting of metabolites produced by the oil bacterium which inhibit its enzymes. For this purpose, the bacteria consortium consisting of an active oil-oxidizing bacterium (AR3-Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes) and two oil-resistant and active heterotrophic bacteria (OG1 and OG2-Erythrobacter citreus) were formed. The heterotrophic bacteria, OG1 and OG2 were able to remove metabolites produced during oil degradation. It was found that AR3 was retarded by metabolites, while OG1 and OG2 were able to grow in the metabolites. OG1 and OG2 were applied together to enhance growth and removal of the metabolites. About 59.9% of crude oil degradation was degraded by AR3 pure culture, while 68.6% was degraded by the bacteria consortium. About 31.4% of the crude oil was found to remain in seawater due to the presence of asphaltenes and resin hydrocarbons. The bacteria consortium was able to degrade 84.1% of total hydrocarbons while 67.0% was degraded by AR3. A total of 99.8% of the aliphatic content and 38.4% of the total aromatic hydrocarbons were degraded by the bacteria consortium, while a lower 79.4% of total aliphatic and 31.0% of total aromatic were degraded by AR3 under the same experimental conditions. The results which were obtained from this study support the hypothesis that the retardation of oil degradation by AR3 is due to the inhibition of metabolites on the growth.

Original languageBritish English
Article number113721
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Biodegradation
  • Crude oil
  • Heterotrophic bacteria
  • Oil-oxidizing bacteria


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