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Abstract

Compounds present in oil sludge such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are known to be cytotoxic, mutagenic and potentially carcinogenic. Microorganisms including bacteria and fungi have been reported to degrade oil sludge components to innocuous compounds such as carbon dioxide, water and salts. In the present study, we isolated different bacteria with PAH-degrading capabilities from compost prepared from oil sludge and animal manures. These bacteria were isolated on a mineral base medium and mineral salt agar plates. A total of 31 morphologically distinct isolates were carefully selected from 5 different compost treatments for identification using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of the 16S rRNA gene with specific primers (universal forward 16S-P1 PCR and reverse 16S-P2 PCR). The amplicons were sequenced and sequences were compared with the known nucleotides from the GenBank. The phylogenetic analyses of the isolates showed that they belong to 3 different clades; Firmicutes, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. These bacteria identified were closely related to the genera Bacillus, Arthrobacter, Staphylococcus, Brevibacterium, Variovorax, Paenibacillus, Ralstonia and Geobacillus. The results showed that Bacillus species were predominant in all composts. Based on the results of the degradation of the PAHs in the composts and results of previous studies on bacterial degradation of hydrocarbons in oil, the characteristics of these bacterial isolates suggests that they may be responsible for the breakdown of PAHs of different molecular weights in the composts. Thus, they may be potentially useful for bioremediation of oil sludge during compost bioremediation.
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