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Characterization of hydrocarbon utilizing bacteria in tropical marine sediments

CB Chikere
GC Okpokwasili
O Ichiakor


Hydrocarbon utilizing bacteria present in Nembe waterside sediments, a marine habitat in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, were characterized using standard culture dependent techniques. The sediment samples were collected along the navigational route with an Eckman sediment grab (Wild Life Supply Co., NY). The samples had meant total heterotrophic bacterial count of 6.6 × 107cfu g-1 and hydrocarbon utilizing bacteria of 8.22 × 102 cfu g-1. The hydrocarbon utilizing bacteria isolated and identified belonged to the following genera; Bacillus, Nocardia, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Flavobacterium, Escherichia, Acinetobacter and Enterobacter. Bacillus spp. were the most isolated followed by Pseudomonas spp. Gas chromatographic analysis of the sediment sample showed a total petroleum hydrocarbon concentration of 102.02 mg kg-1 and presence of higher chain hydrocarbons like C14, C16, C18 and C28. Species of the bacteria isolated are known hydrocarbon  degraders and it is assumed that the genera identified from the sediment may have the catabolic capability to use petroleum
hydrocarbons as source of carbon. Thus the marine sediments of the Niger Delta, Nigeria may habour important genera of bacteria that may have beneficial applications in petroleum microbiology.

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eISSN: 1684-5315