Biodegradation of Produced Water Hydrocarbons by Aspergillus fumigatus

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Okoro, C.C
Amund, O.O
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Biodegradation studies of hydrocarbons in untreated produce water from an oil production facility in Nigeria were undertaken over a period of time using pure cultures of Aspergillus fumigatus isolated from the zone of produce water discharge into the receiving sea water. The rate of reduction in some petroleum hydrocarbon fractions such as n-Alkanes, Aromatics, Nitrogen Sulfur and Oxygen (NSO) containing compounds and Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were monitored by means of Gas chromatography and Mass spectrometry using mechanically treated produced water as a reference. Gas chromatographic analysis showed that untreated produced water used in the study had an oil and grease content of 1407mg/l, this includes n-alkanes(608mg/l), Aromatics (13.88mg/l), NSO compounds (12.68mg/l) PAHs(0.833mg/l) and some unidentified greasy components. Upon mechanical treatment, the oil and grease component of produced water was reduced to 44mg/l comprising of nalkanes (38.40mg/), Aromatics (2.65mg/), NSO compounds(1.78mg/), PAHs (0.0655mg/) and some unidentified greasy component. A pure culture of Aspergillus fumigatus after 120 days of exposure to untreated produce water was able to reduce the hydrocarbons to the following components. n-Alkanes (78.5mg/l), Aromatics(1.58mg/l), NSO compounds (1.22mg/l) and PAHs (0.0168 mg/l). This result indicate that produce water from Chevron’s Escravos tank farm is readily biodegradable and the Aspergillus fumigatus culture used in the study was very effective in degrading the PAHs and NSO components of the hydrocarbon when compared with the conventional mechanical treatment process even though the biodegradation process was very slow.
Biodegradation , Hydrocarbons , Aromatics , Aspergillus fumigatus
Okoro, C. C. and Amund, O. O. (2010). Biodegradation of Produced Water Hydrocarbons by Aspergillus fumigatus. Journal of American Science 2010;6(3):143-149