Cover Image

Isolation and Characterization of Microorganisms from Oil Polluted Soil in Kwata, Awka South, Nigeria

Kingsley Chukwuebuka Agu


Screening of hydrocarbon degrading microorganisms from oil contaminated soil was studied and the samples were obtained from three Mechanical Workshops in Awka, Anambra State. The microorganisms were isolated using the pour plate method by selective enrichment technique. All samples were cultured in solid media with crude oil as a sole carbon and energy source to isolate hydrocarbon utilizers from the sample collected from different mechanic workshop. The isolate were identified on the basis of their colonial and morphological characteristics.  Bacterial strains capable of degrading hydrocarbons belonging to the genera Bacillus spp, Micrococcus spp ,Corynebacterium spp and Pseudomonas spp; as well as five genera of fungi, Penicillin spp, Aspergillus spp, Rhizopus spp, Saccharomyces spp  and Fusarium spp were isolated and identified. The colony forming unit per ml ranges from 0.22x 107 cfu/ml  and 2.83 x 107 cfu/ml for the total heterogenous bacteria and 0.33x107 cfu/ml and 3 x 107 cfu/ml. The ability of the organism to survive is associated with the ability of the organism to use the crude oil as the sole carbon source. Some organism isolated from the total heterogenous bacteria and fungi were not able to grow in the media with the crude oil. These include bacteria genera Aeromonas and Staphylococcus and the fungi genera Cladosporium, Mucor, Geotrichium and Trichophyton. Some factors were seen that can affect the growth of these microorganisms, which include, temperature, nutrients and oxygen. The importance of these isolates for the bioremediation of oil polluted soil including the aerobic degradation of hydrocarbon and anaerobic degradation of hydrocarbon which is of great importance for control of hydrocarbon pollution in Nigeria was ascertained.


soil microorganisms; oil pollution; biodegradation

Full Text:



Moffat AO, Linden P. Perception and reality; Journal of Environmental Science Technology. 2005, 1:283-297

Kvenvolden KA, Cooper CK. Natural seepage of crude oil into the marine environment; Geo-Marine Letters. 2003, 23:140-146

Okpokwasili GC. Microbial degradation of petroleum hydrocarbon by brackish water isolates in nigerian wetlands. In: The Nigerian Man and the Biosphere, Akpata, T.V.I. and A. Okoli (Eds.). MAB National Committee, USA; 1996:138-146

Aboribo RI. Oil politics and the niger delta development commission: The Tussle for Control and Domination. African Journal Environmental Study. 2001, 2:168-175

Okpokwasili GC. Microbial degradation of petroleum hydrocarbon by brackish water isolates in nigerian wetlands. In: The Nigerian Man and the Biosphere, Akpata, T.V.I. and A. Okoli (Eds.). MAB National Committee, USA; 2003:138-146

Walworth JL, F. Reynolds. Bioremediation of a petroleum contaminated cryic soil: Effects of phosphorous, nitrogen and temperature. J. Soil Contam. 1995, 4:299-310

Medina-Bellver JI, Marín P, Delgado A, Rodríguez-Sánchez A, Reyes E, Ramos JL and Marqués S. Evidence for In situ crude oil biodegradation after the prestige oil spill. Environmental Microbiology, 2005, 7:773-779

April TM, Foght JM, and Currah RS. Hydrocarbon-degrading filamentous fungi isolated from flare pit soils in northern and western canada. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 2000, 46:38-49

Ulrici W. Contaminant soil areas, different countries and contaminant monitoring of contaminants, in environmental process II. Soil Decontamination Biotechnology, H. J. Rehm and G. Reed, Editions. 2000, 11:5-42

Leahy JG, Colwell RR. Microbial degradation of hydrocarbons in the environment, Microbiological Reviews. 1990; 54:305-315

American Public Health Association. Standard Methods for the Examination of Soil and Waste Water, 19th Editionn., American Public Health Association, Washington, DC; 1995

Carpenter PL. Microbiology. 4th Edn., W.B. Sanders Company, Philadelphia; 1977, 401-402

Gerhardt P, Murray RGE, Costilow RN, Nester EW, Wood WA, Kieg NR, Philips GB 1981. Manuals of Methods for General Bacteriology. Am Soc Microbiol. USA

Holt JG. Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology. 9th Edn., Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, USA; 1994

AOAC. Official Methods of Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Washington, DC; 2009

Booth CH. Fusarium: Laboratory guide to the identification of major species. Kew, UK: Commonwealth Mycological Institute; 1977

Okigbo RN. Mycoflora and production of wine from fruit of soursops. Int J Wine Res. 2009, 1:1-9

Buroughs R, Saver DB. Growth of fungi in Sorghum grains stored at high moisture contents. Phytopathology. 1971, 61:767-772

Jolt JG, Krieg NR, Sneath HA, Stanley JT, Williams ST. Bergey’s manual of systematic bacteriology, 9th edition. Williams & Wilkins Co. Baltimore, Maryland: 1994; 786

Oyeleke SB, Manga S. Essentials of Laboratory Practicals in Microbiology. Tobest publisher, Minna, Nigeria. 2008, 36-75

Watanabe T. Pictorial Atlas of Soil and Seed Fungi: Morphologies of Cultured Fungi and Key to Species. 2nd ed. CRC Press Boca Raton; 2002

Ijah, JJ, Abioye OP. Assessment of physicochemical and microbiological properties of soil 30 month after kerosene spill. J Res Sci Manage. 2003, 1:24-30

Jobson, AM, McLaughlin, FD, Cook, Westlake DWS. Effects of amendments on the microbial ultilisation of oil applied to soil. Applied Microbiol. 1974, 27:166-171

Colwell RR, Walker JD. Role of autochtonous bacteria in the removal of spilled oil from sediments. Environ. Pollt. 1977, 12:51-56

Atlas R.M. Bioremediation of petroleum pollutants. Int. Biodeteriorat. 1995, 35:317-327

Ijah J, Antai SP. Degradation and mineralization of crude oil by bacteria. Lett. Microbiol. 2003, 12:72-76

Agu KC, Orji MU, Onuorah SC, Egurefa SO, Anaukwu CG, Okafor UC, Awah NS, Okafor OI, Mbachu AE, Anyaegbunam BC. Influence of Solid Waste Dumps Leachate on Bacteriological and Heavy Metals Contamination of Ground Water in Awka. American Journal of Life Science Researches. 2014, 2 (4):450-457

Mbachu AE, Onochie CC, Agu KC, Okafor OI, Awah NS. Hydrocarbon degrading potentials of indigenous bacteria isolated from auto-mechanic workshops at Mgbuka-Nkpor, Nigeria. Journal of Global Biosciences. 2014, 3(1):321-326


  • There are currently no refbacks.

AJCMicrob (ISSN 2572-5815) Copyright © 2012-2020. All rights reserved. Published by Ivy Union Publishing, 3204 Valley Rush Dr, Apex, North Carolina 27502, United States