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Hydrocarbon pollution of coastal ecosystems of the Nigerian Niger-Delta has resulted in the loss of biodiversity, deaths of marine animals and the destruction of arable land. Biodegradation of petroleum is influenced by several factors that include environmental conditions, oxygen, availability of nutrients and access to substrate. In nature, the regulation of environmental factors may prove difficult hence the need to enhance substrate availability for microbial degradation such as through the use of biosurfactants. In order to assess the efficiency of biosurfactant application and the utilization of indigenous microorganisms for the restoration of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soils in the Niger-Delta, close-to-nature surfactants BioVersal FW and QF were used and compared with the efficiency of indigenous microorganisms in the mineralization of petroleum. Degradation experiments were conducted at room temperature range of 20°C to 25°C under aerobic condition after the addition of nutrients, close-to-nature surfactants and microbial consortia to polluted soil samples. Microbial consortium isolated from the study area were grown on Bushnell Haas Agar using crude oil containing mainly mid- and high boiling hydrocarbons fractions prior to experiment. After 28 weeks of experiment 75-84%, 62-70% and 70-87% mineralization of petroleum hydrocarbon were observed in polluted soil when treated with microbial consortium, surfactants only and combination of microbial consortium with surfactant respectively. Considering the results obtained, the combined use of indigenous microorganism and biosurfactants proves most efficient. The production of biosurfactant from indigenous microorganisms will impact massively in the restoration of the coastal ecosystems of the Nigerian Niger-Delta.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program