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J Hazard Mater. 2005 Apr 11;120(1-3):127-34.

Biodegradation of total organic carbons (TOC) in Jordanian petroleum sludge.

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Director of the Environmental Research Center and Chairman of Water and Environment Department, The Hashemite University, P.O. BOX 150459, Zarqa, Jordan.


Biodegradation is cost-effective, environmentally friendly treatment for oily contaminated sites by the use of microorganisms. In this study, laboratory experiments were conducted to establish the performance of bacterial isolates in degradation of organic compounds contained in oily sludge from the Jordanian Oil Refinery plant. As a result of the laboratory screening, three natural bacterial consortia capable of degrading total organic carbons (TOC) were prepared from isolates enriched from the oil sludge. Experiments were conducted in Erlenmeyer flasks under aerobic conditions, with TOC removal percentage varied from 0.3 to 28% depending on consortia type and concentration. Consortia 7B and 13B exhibited the highest TOC removal percentage of 28 and 22%, respectively, before nutrient addition. TOC removal rate was enhanced after addition of nutrients to incubated flasks. The highest TOC reduction (43%) was estimated after addition of combination of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur to consortia 7B. A significant variation (P<0.005) was observed between the effect of consortia type and concentration on TOC% reduction. No significant variation was observed between incubation at 10 and 18 days in TOC% reduction. This is the first report concerning biological treatment of TOC by bacteria isolated from the oil refinery plants, where it lays the ground for full integrated studies recommended for the degradation of organic compounds that assist in solving sludge problems.

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