Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science Series book series (NAIV, volume 76)


Oil shale thermal processing has resulted in solid waste dump sites containing up to 100 million tons of solid waste. The processed oil shale contains complex mixture of organic and inorganic compounds and is highly toxic. Laboratory and field experiments were carried out in order to test the effect of phytoremediation and bioaugmentation for remediation of pollutants in semi-coke. Microbial community of aged (ca 10 ten years) semi-coke is characterized by few dominant populations and possesses low diversity. Changes in microbial community structure and activity occurred in semicoke as a result of phytoremediation and bioaugmentation. The phytoremediation increased the number of bacteria and diversity of microbial community in semi-coke as well as microbial biomass. The general trend was the increase of proportion of biodegradable bacterial numbers within microbial community due to the treatment. Highest values for all measured microbiological parameters were found in rhizosphere samples. Within a two and half year period starting from establishment of test plots, the concentration of phenolic compounds decreased up to 100% and oil products more than three times at plots with vegetation compared to control. Bacterial biomass consisting of three bacterial strains was applied to three experimental plots. These three bacterial strains Pseudomonas mendocina PC1, P. fluorescens PC24 and P. fluorescens PC18 degrade phenols via catechol meta, catechol or protocatechuate ortho or via the combination of catechol meta and protocatechuate ortho pathways, respectively. Bioaugmentation increased biodegradation intensity of oil products up to 50% compared to untreated planted controls and enhanced plant growth, but the effect of bioaugmentation on microbial community parameters was shortterm. Our results indicate that increased biodegradation activity was due to proliferation of specific microbial groups, changes in taxonomic diversity of bacterial community and catabolic genes.


Microbial Community Catabolic Gene Untreated Plot Rhizosphere Sample Pseudomonas Mendocina 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alkorta, I., and Garbisu C., 2001, Phytoremediation of organic contaminants in soil. Bioresource Technology 79: 273–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Banks, M.K., Schwab, P., Liu, B., Kulakow, P.A., Smith, J.S., Kim, R., 2003, The effect of plants on the degradation and toxicity of petroleum contaminants in soil: a field assessment. Adv. Biochem. Eng. Biotech. 78: 75–96.Google Scholar
  3. Dejonghe, W., Boon, N., Seghers, D., Top, E.M., Verstraete, W., 2001, Bioaugmentation of soils by increasing microbial richness: missing links. Environmental Microbiology 3(10): 649–657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Glick, B.R., 2003, Phytoremediation: synergistic use of plants and bacteria to clean up the environment. Biotechnology Advances 21: 383–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Harvey, P., Campanella, B., Castro, P., Harms, H., Lichtfouse, E., Schaffner, A., Smrcek, S., Werck-Reichhart, D., 2002, Phytoremediation of polyaromatic hydrocarbons, anilines, and phenols. Environ. Sci. Pollut Res. Int. 9: 29–47.Google Scholar
  6. Heinaru, E., Viggor, S., Vedler, E., Truu, J., Merimaa, M., Heinaru, A., 2001, Reversible accumulation of p-hydroxybenzoate and catechol determines the sequential decomposition of phenolic compounds in mixed substrate cultivations in pseudomonads. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 37: 79–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Heinaru, E., Truu, J., Stottmeister, U., Heinaru, A., 2000, Three types of phenol and p-cresol catabolism in phenol- and p-cresol-degrading bacteria isolated from river water continuously polluted with phenolic compounds. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 31: 195–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kronholm, J., Kettunen, J., Hartonen, K., Riekkola, M.L., 2004, Pressurised hot water extraction of n-alkanes and polyaromatic hydrocarbons in soil and sediment of from oil shale industry district in Estonia. J. Soils Sediments 4, 107–114.Google Scholar
  9. Kuiper, I., Lagendijk, E.L., Bloemberg, G.V., Lugtenberg, B., 2004, Rhizoremediation: A beneficial plant-microbe interaction. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 17: 6–15.Google Scholar
  10. Lindstrom, J.E., Barry, R.P., Braddock, J.F., 1998, Microbial community analysis: a kinetic approach to constructing potential C source utilization patterns. Soil Biol. Biochem. 30: 231–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Madsen, T., Kristensen, P., 1997, Effects of bacterial inoculation and nonionic surfactants on degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 16: 631–637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mana Capelli, S. M.,. Busalmen, J.P, de Sanchez, S.R., 2001, Hydrocarbon bioremediation of a mineral-base contaminated waste from crude oil extraction by indigenous bacteria. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 47: 233–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Margesin, R., Schinner, F., 1997, Bioremediation of diesel-oil contaminated alpine soils at low temperatures. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 47: 462–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Muratova, A., Hübner, T., Narula, N., Wand, H., Turkovskaya, O., Kuschk, P., Jahn, R., Merbach, W., 2003, Rhizosphere microflora of plants used for the phytoremediation of bitumen-contaminated soil. Microbiological Research 158: 151–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Peressuttia, S.R., Alvarez, H.M.,. Pucci, O.H., 2003, Dynamics of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteriocenosis of an experimental oil pollution in Patagonian soil. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 52: 21–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Romantschuk M., Sarand I., Petänen T., Peltola R., Jonsson-Vihanne, M., Koivula, T., Yrjälä K., Haahtela K., 2000, Means to improve the effect of in situ bioremediation of contaminated soil: an overview of novel approaches. Environmental Pollution 107: 179–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ruberto, L., Vazquez, S, C., Mac Cormack, W.P., 2003, Effectiveness of the natural bacterial flora, biostimulation and bioaugmentation on the bioremediation of a hydrocarbon contaminated Antartic soil. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 52: 115–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Sarand, I., Timonen, S., Koivula, T., Peltola, R., Haahtela, K., Sen, R., Romantschuk, M., 1999, Tolerance and biodegradation of m-toluate by Scots pine, a mycorrhizal fungus and fluorescent pseudomonads individually and under associative condition. J. Appl. Microbiol. 86: 817–826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Schäfer, H., and Muyzer, G., 2001, Methods in Microbiology. Academic Press, London, pp. 425–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Schinner, F., Ohlinger, R., Kandeler, E., Margesin, R., 1996, Methods in Soil Biology. Springer, pp. 28–31.Google Scholar
  21. Siciliano, S.D., Germida, J.J., 1998, Biolog analysis and fatty acid methyl ester profiles indicate that pseudomonad inoculants that promote phytoremediation alter the root-associated microbial community of Bromus biebersteinii. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 30: 1717–1723.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Singer, A.C., Smith, D., Jury, W.A., Hathuc, K., Crowley, D.E., 2003, Impact of the plant rhizosphere and augmentation on remediation of polychlorinated biphenyl contaminated soil. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 22: 1998–2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Top, E.M., Springael, D., Boon, N., 2002, Catabolic mobile genetic elements and their potential use in bioaugmentation of polluted soils and waters. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 42: 199–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Trapp, S., and Karlson, U., 2001, Aspects of phytoremediation of organic pollutants. J. Soils Sediments 1:37–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Truu, J., Heinaru, E., Talpsep, E., Heinaru, A., 2002, Analysis of river pollution data from low-flow period by means of multivariate techniques: A case study from the oil-shale industry region, northeastern Estonia. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 1: 8–14.Google Scholar
  26. Truu, J., Kärme, L., Talpsep, E., Heinaru, E., Vedler, E., Heinaru, A., 2003, Phytoremediation of solid oil shale waste from the chemical industry. Acta Biotechnologica 23: 301–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. White, P., 2001, Phytoremediation assisted by microorganims. Trends Plant Sci. 6: 502 p.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wrenn, B.A., and Venosa, A.D., 1996, Selective enumeration of aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbon degrading bacteria by a most-probable number procedure. Can. J. Microbiol. 42: 252–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Molecular and Cell BiologyUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia

Personalised recommendations