Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 471–478 | Cite as

Bioremediation and reclamation of soil contaminated with petroleum oil hydrocarbons by exogenously seeded bacterial consortium: a pilot-scale study

Research Article



Spillage of petroleum hydrocarbons causes significant environmental pollution. Bioremediation is an effective process to remediate petroleum oil contaminant from the ecosystem. The aim of the present study was to reclaim a petroleum oil-contaminated soil which was unsuitable for the cultivation of crop plants by using petroleum oil hydrocarbon-degrading microbial consortium.

Materials and methods

Bacterial consortium consisting of Bacillus subtilis DM-04 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa M and NM strains were seeded to 20% (v/w) petroleum oil-contaminated soil, and bioremediation experiment was carried out for 180 days under laboratory condition. The kinetics of hydrocarbon degradation was analyzed using biochemical and gas chromatographic (GC) techniques. The ecotoxicity of the elutriates obtained from petroleum oil-contaminated soil before and post-treatment with microbial consortium was tested on germination and growth of Bengal gram (Cicer aretinum) and green gram (Phaseolus mungo) seeds.


Bacterial consortium showed a significant reduction in total petroleum hydrocarbon level in contaminated soil (76% degradation) as compared to the control soil (3.6% degradation) 180 days post-inoculation. The GC analysis confirmed that bacterial consortium was more effective in degrading the alkane fraction compared to aromatic fraction of crude petroleum oil hydrocarbons in soil. The nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen compounds fraction was least degraded. The reclaimed soil supported the germination and growth of crop plants (C. aretinum and P. mungo). In contrast, seeds could not be germinated in petroleum oil-contaminated soil.


The present study reinforces the application of bacterial consortium rather than individual bacterium for the effective bioremediation and reclamation of soil contaminated with petroleum oil.


Bioremediation Crop plants Petroleum oil hydrocarbon degradation Soil reclamation Bacillus subtilis Pseudomonas aeruginosa 



Authors thank Dr. F. A. Danta, Department of English and Foreign Languages, for editing the manuscript, and Prof. M. K. Chaudhuri, Vice-chancellor, T. U., for his constant encouragement to pursue this work. N.K.B. is the recipient of Institutional Research Associateship. This work was partly supported from the grant received under UGC-SAP to A.K.M.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular Biology and BiotechnologyTezpur UniversityTezpurIndia

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