International microbiology : the official journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology

Bioremediation of oil polluted marine sediments: A bio-engineering treatment.

PMID 26496620


The fate of hydrocarbon pollutants and the development of oil-degrading indigenous marine bacteria in contaminated sediments are strongly influenced by abiotic factors such as temperature, low oxygen levels, and nutrient availability. In this work, the effects of different biodegradation processes (bioremediation) on oil-polluted anoxic sediments were analyzed. In particular, as a potential bioremediation strategy for polluted sediments, we applied a prototype of the "Modular Slurry System" (MSS), allowing containment of the sediments and their physical-chemical treatment (by air insufflations, temperature regulation, and the use of a slow-release fertilizer). Untreated polluted sediments served as the blank in a non-controlled experiment. During the experimental period (30 days), bacterial density and biochemical oxygen demand were measured and functional genes were identified by screening. Quantitative measurements of pollutants and an eco-toxicological analysis (mortality of Corophium orientale) were carried out at the beginning and end of the experiments. The results demonstrated the high biodegradative capability achieved with the proposed technology and its strong reduction of pollutant concentrations and thus toxicity.