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This study investigated the potential bioremediation ability of Cladosporium species in hydrocarbon contaminated wastewater. Hydrocarbon contaminated wastewater samples were collected from the wastewater reservoir of the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company, Kaduna and the concentrations of the heavy metals, total hydrocarbon and physicochemical parameters of the samples were determined. Some of the physicochemical parameters of the hydrocarbon contaminated water such as Electrical conductivity (15.74-25.70µS/cm), TDS (8.00-8.50 mg/l), dissolved oxygen (0.60-0.75 mg/l) and BOD (0.20-0.52 mg/l) were lower than their respective WHO (2011) permissible limits while Ammonium nitrates (0.12-0.8 mg/l),Turbidity (2.63-10.30 NTU) and pH (7.40-12.00) were higher before bioremediation. The concentration of Zinc (1.97-2.86mg/l) and Copper (0.35-1.49 mg /l) were within their respective WHO (2011) acceptable limits while Manganese (0.65-2.0 mg/l), Cadmium (0.38-0.56mg/l) and Lead (14.42-15.09mg/l) exceeded the acceptable standards before bioremediation. Nickel was not detected in all the sampling points. The highest total hydrocarbon concentration observed before bioremediation was 1.87mg/l. Cladosporium species was isolated from the study area, identified and characterized on the basis of their macroscopic and microscopic morphologies using standard taxonomic guides. The Cladosporiumisolate was used in the bioremediation of the samples.The concentrations of some physicochemical parameters such as Electrical conductivity (25.70 -14.95 µS/cm), TDS (8.50-0.03 mg/l), D.O (0.75-0.30 mg/l) and pH (12.00-6.90)decreased after bioremediation withCladosporium species. A decrease was also observed in the concentration of some heavy metals such as Zinc (2.86-0 mg/l), Cadmium (0.56-0 mg/l), and Copper (1.49-0 mg/l) after bioremediation. The total hydrocarbon concentrationdecreased for both the sterilized (1.874-0.450 mg/l) and non-sterilized samples(1.874-0.703 mg/l) after bioremediation.However, the concentrations of Lead (14.19-33.98 mg/l) and Manganese (0.65-2.86 mg/l) increased after bioremediation.This study shows that Cladosporiumsphas potential for bioremediation of hydrocarbon contaminated wastewater.
1.1 Background to the Study
Bioremediation is the treatment of contaminated environment by using biological mechanisms
(Adamet al., 2017). Biodegradation is defined as the biologically catalyzed reduction in the
complexity of chemical compounds (Alexander, 1973). These substances are transformed
through metabolic or enzymatic process. This transformation is based on two processes
namely growth and co-metabolism. In growth, organic pollutants are used as sole source of
energy and carbon while growth substrate is used in co-metabolism. The process results in a
complete degradation called mineralization (Roling et al., 2004;Fritscheand Hofritcher, 2008).
Biodegrading microorganisms are those that mineralize complex organic molecules into
simpler ones. Hydrocarbons are complex and heterogeneous groups of organic molecules that
are made up of carbon and hydrogen. Mycoremediation is a form of bioremediation where
fungi are used to degrade or sequester contaminants in the environment (Margesin and
Shinner 2001).The decomposition by the fungi is usually performed by the mycelia .The
mycelia secretes extracellular enzymes and acids that break down the organic matter (Medina-
Beliver et al., 2005).
The growth in petroleum hydrocarbon exploration in Nigeria and the world over has led to
increased oil pollution in the environment. Petroleum refining produces large amount of
effluents that are toxic and results in environmental pollution of receiving bodies of water and
soils. The exact composition cannot however be generalized as it depends on the refinery and
the units that are in operation at any specific time. Such contaminated habitats lose their
capability to support both plants and animal lives and thus constitute public health and socio-
economic hazards as well as pose serious aquatic toxicity problems (Okerentugba and
Ezeronye, 2003). The Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) was designed to
refine two types of crude oils namely the imported heavy crude and Nigerian light crude. The
increasing demand for petroleum and its products in the last ten decades has resulted in petroleum
spills. Despite fluctuations in its prices, oil will remain a major source of energy in the next
several decades because a reliable alternative has not yet been found (Adieze et al., 2003).
The impacts of crude petroleum, prospecting and production operations on oil producing
countries of the world had resulted in enormous pollution of air, water and particularly
agricultural land for food production (Ward et al., 1980; Atlas, 1981; Tealet al., 1992; Amund
et al., 1993; Wang, et al., 2011). Such contamination may result in an extensive damage to the
natural environments and these effects may be long term and extended over many seasons.
Generally speaking, effluents discharge into salt marsh ecosystems impart potential damage
to their physical and ecological integrity even in minimal spill level, let alone catastrophic
accidents like the Exxon Valdez in 1989 (36, 000 tons of crude oil covered approximately 500
kilometers of shoreline) (Miller, 1999). The removal of oil that has been accidentally or
purposely spilled into the environment is therefore of great concern to the petroleum industry
(Sanni and Ajisebutu, 2003).Previous investigations have shown that crude oil and other
related organic pollutants can be degraded (Okpokwasili and Okorie,1988;Ijah and Ukpe,
1992;Philips and Stewart, 1994; Ekpo and Ekpo, 2006). To remediate petroleum contaminants
in these environments, bio-stimulation and bio-argumentation are generally considered as
environmentally friendly techniques. However, the use of extrinsic microorganism is unlikely
to be acceptable to the public or introduction of a single species has a tendency to use limited
compounds, and had low survival rates due to predation, parasitism and competition with
indigenous species in the limited environment. Predominant hydrocarbons are theoretically
degradable but the components are rather complicated. It contains aliphatic and polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), for example, crude oil consists of paraffins 15 - 60%,
naphthenes 30 - 60%, aromatics 3-30% and asphaltic 6% by weight (Hyne, 2001).
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