Degradation of aviation fuel by microorganisms isolated from tropical polluted soils

  • AE Omotayo
  • OA Efetie
  • G Oyetibo
  • MO Ilori
  • OO Amund


The degradation of aviation fuel was observed in soil samples from a polluted site at the aviation fuel depot, Lagos Airport, Nigeria. The percentage of occurrence of bacterial aviation fuel–utilizers were less than
1.0% of the heterotrophic populations, while the fungal-degraders were between 2.547-16.053%. There were no significant statistical differences for both the bacteria and fungi estimations among the soil samples.
Enrichment of soil samples with aviation fuel resulted in the isolation of five bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Micrococcus luteus, Corynebacterium sp., Flavobacterium rigense, Bacillus subtilis), three yeasts (Rhodotorula sp., Candida tropicalis, Saccharomyces sp.) and two molds (Aspergillus niger, Penicillium sp.). Utilization of the substrate by bacteria and yeast isolates resulted in an increase in population density and subsequent decrease in pH value and residual aviation fuel concentration. Over 90% of the n-alkane fraction of the aviation fuel supplied at 0.5% v v-1 concentration was degraded in 14 days by Pseudomonas aeruginosa,
Micrococcus luteus and Corynebacterium sp. There were differential growth responses by the strains to dodecane, benzene, toluene and naphthalene, while growth was not supported by hexane and cyclohexane.
Thus, enrichment with of soil contaminated with aviation fuel led to the isolation of competent hydrocarbon degraders.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1997-342X
print ISSN: 1991-8631