A consortium isolated from the Persian Gulf is evaluated for its ability to bioremediate petroleum-contaminated soils. The soil sample was collected from oil fields of South Western Iran. The crude oil concentrations were set to 1000-10,000 mg/kg, and the sodium chloride concentration was set to 0.5%, 1%, 1.5%, 2%, and 2.5%. Operational parameters including volume (2-20 ml) and soil moisture (25%, 50%, and 100%) were studied consecutively according to one factor at the time of experimental design. A total number of eight different isolates capable of degrading crude oil were isolated from hydrocarbon-contaminated sites (KL1-KL8). The removal efficiency of Total petroleom hydrocarbons (TPH) with an initial concentration of 1000 mg/kg for numbers of bacterial cells per gram soil of 2, 10, and 20 CFU/g was 20.9%, 45%, and 60%, respectively. The removal efficiency of TPHs (initial concentration of 1000 mg/kg) at the end of fifth week for salinity amounts of 0.5%, 1%, 1.5%, 2%, and 2.5% was 10.87%, 22.4%, 25.7%, 68.6%, and 60.5%, respectively. The TPHs biodegradation efficiencies at different soil/water ratios of 25%, 50%, and 100% (slurry) were 12%, 28.7%, and 60.8%, respectively. In sunflowers, there was no statistically significant difference in seed germination for different levels of soil pollution (p > 0.05). The results of the current work suggest that this process is a viable and efficient method for remediating contaminated sites. To enhance the removal results in real soil, a scale-up study should also be conducted.
Keywords: Bacillus strains; TPHs; bioremediation; germination; salinity; soil contamination.
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