Contamination from Petroleum Products: Impact on Soil Seed Banks around an Oil Storage Facility in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Institute of Ecology and Environmental Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria

2 Environmental Biology Unit, Department of Plant Biology, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria

3 Department of Crop Production and Protection, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria


The plants, grown in the soils around a Fuel Holding Depot of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria have been investigated in this research in terms of their density and species composition so that the impact of contamination by petroleum products on soil seed banks could be determined. The study has used designated plots (25m by 25m) in a site, contaminated by petroleum products, as well as a non-contaminated site. In each plot, replicate soil samples have been collected randomly at 0-5 cm, 5-10 cm, and 10-15 cm, with the soil samples being subjected to emergence of seedling test for three months in order to determine the species composition, species density, and seed viability at different soil depths. Results show that 17 species from 14 families with a total seedling density of 975 seedlings (19,073 seeds/m2) have been encountered in the seed bank of the non-contaminated soil, whereas just one species with 339 seedlings (6,632 seeds/m2) has been recorded in the contaminated soil. Herbaceous species notably, Spermacoce ocymoides, Spermacoce verticillata, and Peperomia pellucida dominate the seed bank of the non-contaminated soil, whereas Eleusine indica is the sole species, encountered in the seed bank of the contaminated soil. There is a general reduction in seed viability as the soil depth is increased. In conclusion, contamination by petroleum products narrow the species composition and density of soil seed bank, though has no effect on seed viability, irrespective of soil depth. Eleusine indica, being the only species encountered in the contaminated soil, may be tolerant to petroleum hydrocarbon, thus portending useful potentials for phytoremediation.


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