Bioremediation for Environmental Pollutants

Bioremediation of Hydrocarbons

Author(s): Grace N. Ijoma, Weiz Nurmahomed, Tonderayi S. Matambo, Charles Rashama and Joshua Gorimbo *

Pp: 332-405 (74)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815123494123010013

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Hydrocarbons are a common contaminant in both terrestrial and aquatic ecological systems. This is most likely due to the widespread use of hydrocarbons as everyday energy sources and precursors in the majority of chemical manufacturing applications. Because of their physical and chemical properties, most hydrocarbons in the environment are resistant to degradation. Although several derivatives are classified as xenobiotics, their persistence in the environment has induced microorganisms to devise ingenious strategies for incorporating their degradation into existing biochemical pathways. Understanding these mechanisms is critical for microbial utilization in bioremediation technologies. This chapter focuses on recalcitrant and persistent hydrocarbons, describing the reasons for their resistance to biodegradation as well as the effects on ecological systems. Furthermore, aerobic and anaerobic degradation pathways, as well as ancillary strategies developed by various microorganisms in the degradation of hydrocarbon pollutants, are discussed.

Keywords: Biodegradation, Fortuitous degradation, Anaerobic degradation, Bioattenuation, Biostimulation, Bioaugmentation, Bioavailability.

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