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J Basic Microbiol. 2013 Nov;53(11):917-27. doi: 10.1002/jobm.201200151. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

Biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons in the presence of nickel and cobalt.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.


Bioremediation of environments co-contaminated with hydrocarbons and heavy metals often pose a challenge as heavy metals exert toxicity to existing communities of hydrocarbon degraders. Multi-resistant bacterial strains were studied for ability to degrade hydrocarbons in chemically defined media amended with 5.0 mM Ni(2+), and Co(2+). The bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa CA207Ni, Burkholderia cepacia AL96Co, and Corynebacterium kutscheri FL108Hg, utilized crude oil and anthracene without lag phase at specific growth rate spanning 0.3848-0.8259 per day. The bacterial populations grew in hydrocarbon media amended with nickel (Ni) and cobalt (Co) at 0.8393-1.801 days generation time (period of exponential growth, t = 15 days). The bacteria degraded 96.24-98.97, and 92.94-96.24% of crude oil, and anthracene, respectively, within 30 days without any impedance due to metal toxicity (at 5.0 mM). Rather, there was reduction of Ni and Co concentrations in the axenic culture 30 days post-inoculation to 0.08-0.12 and 0.11-0.15 mM, respectively. The metabolic functions of the bacteria are active in the presence of toxic metals (Ni and Co) while utilizing petroleum hydrocarbons for increase in biomass. These findings are useful to other baseline studies on decommissioning of sites co-contaminated with hydrocarbons and toxic metals.


Anthracene; Bacteria; Biodegradation; Cobalt; Crude oil; Heavy metal; Nickel; Petroleum hydrocarbon

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