Biodegradation of Jet Fuel by Three Gram Negative Bacilli Isolated from Kerosene Contaminated Soil

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

2 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Physical Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria


Petroleum hydrocarbon contamination is a major global prevalent issue in the petroleum sector. This research focuses on evaluating biodegradation of three Gram-negative bacilli, isolated from cowpea planted soil, contaminated with kerosene. The Gram negative bacilli strains have been characterized and identified, using MicrobactTM ID24E systems for the identification of Enterobacteriaceae and common Miscellaneous Gram-Negative Bacilli (MGNB). The identified organisms include Aeromonas hydrophila, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Actinobacillus sp. with the biodegradation indices, monitored for the evaluation of their degrading abilities, being Optical density at 600 nm (OD600nm), pH, and emulsification stability. The chemical profile of single cultures and mixed cultures (consortia) on the jet fuel hydrocarbon has been determined by means of Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), the results of which indicate that all the isolates have undergone above 70% reduction of the hydrocarbon substrates in terms of residual compounds. There has been 48 hydrocarbon compounds in the undegraded jet fuel which, following degradation process, decrease to 5, 13, 7, 10, 6, 9, and 10 compounds for Aeromonas hydrophila, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Actinobacillus sp., Aeromonas hydrophila and Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Aeromonas hydrophila and Actinobacillus sp., Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Actinobacillus sp., Aeromonas hydrophila, Vibrio parahaemolyticus,and Actinobacillus sp., respectively. The degradation efficiency of the isolates have been relatively high and comparable to the control. Results from this study indicate that all the strains, especially the consortia, are potential candidates for remediating the problem of hydrocarbon contamination in the environment.


Adebusoye, S.A., Ilori, M.O., Amund, O.O., Teniola, O.D. and Olatope, S.O. (2006).  Microbial degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons in a polluted tropical stream. World Journal of Microbiology, 23, 1149-1159.
Adetitun, D.O., Olayemi, A.B., Kolawole, O.M. and Fathepure, B. (2016). Molecular Identification of Hydrocarbon Degrading Bacteria Isolated from alfisol-Loam Experimentally Contaminated with Gasoline.Biokemistri, 28(3), 135-143.
Adetitun, D.O., Olayemi, A.B. and Kolawole, O.M. (2014). Hydrocarbon- degrading capability of Bacteria isolated from maize- planted, kerosene contaminated Ilorin alfisol. Biokemistri, 26(1), 13-18.
Alexander, M. (2001). Role of cometalism. Microbial degradation of pollutants in marine environments. US Environment Protection Agency. EPA-600/9-79-012, 67-75.
Atlas, R.M. (1995). Bioremediation of Petroleum Pollutants. International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation, 35(1-3), 317-327.     
Atlas, R.M. (1981). Microbial degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons: an environmental perspective. Microbiol. Rev., 45, 180-209.
Ausma, S., Edwards, G.C., Fitzgerald-Hubble, C.R., Halfpenny-Mitchell, L., Gillespie, T. J. and Mortimer, W.P. (2002). Volatile hydrocarbon emissions from a diesel fuel contaminated soil bioremediation facility. Air Waste Management Association, 52, 769-780.
Baird, J. (2010). "Oil's Shame in Africa". Newsweek(Atlantic Edition). 156(4), 16.
Bento, F.M., Camargo, F.A. and Okeke, B.C. (2005). Frankenberger, W. T. Comparative bioremediation of soils contaminated with diesel oil by natural attenuation, biostimulation and bioaugementation. Bioresource Technology, 96, 1049-1055.
Bernabei, M., Reda, R., Galiero, R. and Bocchinfuso, G. (2003). Determination of total and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in aviation jet fuels. Journal of Chromatography, 985, 197-203.
Bodour, A.A., Gerrero-Barajas, C. and Maier, M. (2004). Structure and characterization of Flavolipids, a novel class of Biosurfactants produced by Flavolipid sp. Strain MTN1. Appl Environ Microbiol., 70(1), 114-20.
Boonchan, S., Britz, M.L. and Stanley, G.A. (2000). Degradation and mineralization of high-molecular- weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by defined fungal- bacterial co- culture. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 66, 1007-1091.
Chandankere, R., Yao, J.,  Choi, M.M.F., Masakorala, K. and Chan, Y. (2013). An
efficient biosurfactant-producing and crude-oil emulsifying bacterium Bacillus methylotrophicus USTBa isolated from petroleum reservoir. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 74, 46-53.
Das, K. and Mukherjee, A.K. (2007). Crude petroleum-oil biodegradation efficiency of Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains isolated from a petroleum-oil contaminated soil from North-East India.  Bioresource Technology, 98(7), 1339-1345.
Díaz-Ramírez, I.J., Escalante-Espinosa, E., Favela-Torres, M. and Ramírez-Saad, H., (2008). Design of bacterial defined mixed cultures for biodegradation of specific crude oil fractions, using population dynamics analysis by DGGE. International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation, 62(1), 1-30.
Desouky, A. (2003). Acinetobacter: environmental and biotechnological applications. African Journal of Biotechnology, 2(4), 71-74.
Ekpo, M.A. and Udofia, U.S. (2008). Rate of biodegradation of crude oil by microorganisms isolated from oil sludge environment. African Journal of Biotechnology, 7(24), 4495-4499.
Facundo, J. M., Vanessa, H. and Teresa, M. L. (2001). Biodegradation of Diesel
Oil in Soil by a Microbial Consortium. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 128 (3-4). 313-320.
Harayama, S., Kasai, Y. and Hara, A. (2004). Microbial Communities in Oil-
Contaminated Seawater. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 15: 205–214.
Jyothi, K., Babu, S. K., Nancy Clara, K. and Kashyap, A. (2012). Identification and
Isolation of Hydrocarbon Degrading Bacteria by Molecular Characterization. Helix, 2: 105-111.
Kvenvolden, K. A. and Cooper, C. K. (2003). Natural Seepage of Crude Oil into the
Marine Environment. Geo-Marine Letters, 23(3-4):140–146.
Madigan, T.M., Martinko, J.M.A., Stahl, D. and Clark, D.P., (2012). Brock Biology of Microorganisms (13th edition). Pearson Education Incorporated, San Francisco, CA.
Margesin, R., Labbé, D., Schinner, F., Greer, C. W. and Whyte, L. G. (2003).
Characterization of Hydrocarbon-Degrading Microbial Populations in Contaminated and Pristine Alpine Soils. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69:3085–3092.
Marques-Rocha, F. J., Hernandez-Rodrigues, V. and Lamela, M. A. T. (2000).
Biodegradation of Diesel Oil by Microbial Consortium. Water, Soil and Air Pollution, 128: 313-20.
Monteiro, S.A., Sassaki, G.L., Souza, L.M., Meira, J.A., Araújo, J.M., Mitchell, D.A., Ramos, L.P. and Krieger, N. (2007). Molecular and structural characterization of the biosurfactant produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa DAUPE614. Chem. Phys. Lipids, 147, 1-13.
Nwachukwu, C., Kalejaiye, K., Ajala, B. and Ejoh, E. (2013). Shell Spills over 26, 000
barrels of oil in 13 months. Vanguard Newspaper, January 29.
Nweke, C. O. and Okpokwasili, G. C. (2003). Drilling Fluid Base Oil Biodegradation
Potential of a Soil Staphylococcus species. African Journal of Biotechnology, 2:
293 – 295.
Nwilo, P.C. and Badejo, O.T. (2006). Impacts and management of oil spill pollution
along the Nigerian coastal areas. In administering marine spaces: international issues. Ed(s) Sutherland et al. A publication of FIG commission 4 and 7 group 4.3. International Federation of Surveyors. FIG Publication No 36: 119-133.
Oboh, B.O., Ilori, O.M., Akinyemi, J.O. and Adebusoye, S.A. (2006). Hydrocarbon
degrading potentials of bacteria isolated from a Nigeria Bitumen (Tarsand) deposit. National Science, 4, 51-57.
Ojumu, T. V., Bello, O. O., Sonibare, J. A. and Solomon, B. O. (2004). Evaluation of
Microbial Systems for Bioremediation of Petroleum Refinery Effluents in Nigeria. African Journal of Biotechnology, 4(1) :31 35.
Oudot, J. (1994). Soil pollution by petroleum products and treatments. Analysis Magazine, 22, 16-18.
Ramos, J.L., Duque, E. and Ramos-Gonzalez, M.I. (1991). Survival in soils of an herbicide-resistant Pseudomonas putida strain bearing a recombinant TOL plasmid. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 57, 260-266.
Rahman, K.S.M., Rahman, J.T., Lakshmanaperumalsamy, P. and Banat, I.M. (2002). Towards Efficient Crude Oil Degradation by a Mixed Bacterial Consortium. Bio resource Technology, 85, 257-261.
Robert, M. G., Stephen, J. R. and Roger, C. P. (2003). Biodegradation of Fuel Oil Under
Laboratory and Arctic Marine Conditions. Spill Science TechnoIogy BuIIetin, 8 (3): 297-302.
Santhini, K., Myla, J., Sajani, S. and Usharani, G. (2009). Screening of Micrococcus sp
from Oil Contaminated Soil with Reference to Bioremediation. Botany Research International, 2(4): 248-252.
Song, H. and Bartha, R. (1990). Effects of jet fuel spills on the microbial community of soil. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 56, 646-651. 
Vecchioli, G.I., Del Panno, M.T. and Painceira, M.T. (1990). Use of selected autochthnous soil bacteria to enhance degradation of hydrocarbons in soil. Environmental Pollution, 67, 249-258.
Venkateswaran, K. and Harayama S. (1995). Sequential enrichment of microbial populations exhibiting enhanced biodegradation of crude oil. Can. J. Microb., 41, 767-775.