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Microbiological Assessment of Soil Contaminated with Refined Petroleum: A Case Study of Eluama in Isuikwuato LGA, Abia State, Nigeria

Obiageli R. Ezeigbo, N. G. Agomoh, F. U. Okike-Osissiogu, C. Ibebuike, C. A. Ike-Amadi


A microbiological assessment of soil polluted by refined petroleum was carried out in Eluama community, Isuikwuato LGA, Abia State, Nigeria between March and October, 2012. The aim of the study is to examine the long-term kinetics of refined petroleum oil contaminated soil in this area from pipeline vandalization in the year 2000 and to assess the extent of biodegradation with respect to length of time of the spill. The microbiological examination of the soil samples were conducted by serial diluting and then inoculating the soil samples on different growth media. Several microbiological and biochemical methods were applied in order to isolate and identify the microorganisms accustomed to the soil sample. An unpolluted farmland served as control. Results showed a decrease in microbial load of soil as distance approaches seepage area. The control has a total heterotrophic bacteria count of 22.3 x 106 CFU/ml which decreases towards the seepage area (4.1 x 106 CFU/ml). The total fungi count also decreases from the control (5.9 x 106 CFU/ml) towards the seepage area (1.2 x 106 CFU/ml). Micococcus sp and Pseudomonas aeroginosa were predominant in the seepage area up to 30m away from the seepage area. Other bacteria identified after this distance include Bacillus sp, Klebsiella pneumonia, Streptomyces sp, Streptococcus sp and Staphylococcus aureus while the predominant fungi were Aspergillus niger and Mucor sp. The marked decrease of heterotrophic bacteria and fungi in the petroleum polluted area compared with the control (the unpolluted farmland) shows the unsuitability of the soil for agricultural purpose, as full remediation has not taken place.


microbiological assessment; refined petroleum oil; soil contamination; pipeline vandalization

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