Potential for biodegradation of hydrocarbons in soil from the Ross Dependency, Antarctica
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Oil spills occur in the Antarctic when fuel oils such as JP8 jet fuel are moved or stored. Hydrocarbons, both n-alkanes and aromatic compounds, have been detected in oil-contaminated soils of the Ross Dependency. In such areas hydrocarbon-degrading microbes, if naturally occurring, could be used for clean-up. Soil samples from oil-impacted and control sites were analysed for hydrocarbon-degrading microbes and for a range of parameters known to limit biodegradative activity. Soils were analysed for water content, pH, concentrations of nutrients (N and P) and electrical conductivity. Numbers of culturable heterotrophic bacteria and hydrocarbon degraders were greater in some of the oil-contaminated samples. Mineralisation studies with 14C-radiolabelled hexadecane and naphthalene demonstrated that nitrogen amendments significantly enhanced hydrocarbon mineralisation rates in an oil-impacted soil.
KeywordsHydrocarbon Naphthalene Aromatic Compound Hexadecane Heterotrophic Bacterium
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