JOURNAL ARTICLE

Isolation and characterization of Halomonas sp. strain C2SS100, a hydrocarbon-degrading bacterium under hypersaline conditions

S Mnif, M Chamkha, S Sayadi
Journal of Applied Microbiology 2009, 107 (3): 785-94
19320948

AIMS: To isolate and characterize an efficient hydrocarbon-degrading bacterium under hypersaline conditions, from a Tunisian off-shore oil field.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Production water collected from 'Sercina' petroleum reservoir, located near the Kerkennah island, Tunisia, was used for the screening of halotolerant or halophilic bacteria able to degrade crude oil. Bacterial strain C2SS100 was isolated after enrichment on crude oil, in the presence of 100 g l(-1) NaCl and at 37 degrees C. This strain was aerobic, Gram-negative, rod-shaped, motile, oxidase + and catalase +. Phenotypic characters and phylogenetic analysis based on the 16S rRNA gene of the isolate C2SS100 showed that it was related to members of the Halomonas genus. The degradation of several compounds present in crude oil was confirmed by GC-MS analysis. The use of refined petroleum products such as diesel fuel and lubricating oil as sole carbon source, under the same conditions of temperature and salinity, showed that significant amounts of these heterogenic compounds could be degraded. Strain C2SS100 was able to degrade hexadecane (C16). During growth on hexadecane, cells surface hydrophobicity and emulsifying activity increased indicating the production of biosurfactant by strain C2SS100.

CONCLUSIONS: A halotolerant bacterial strain Halomonas sp. C2SS100 was isolated from production water of an oil field, after enrichment on crude oil. This strain is able to degrade hydrocarbons efficiently. The mode of hydrocarbon uptake is realized by the production of a biosurfactant which enhances the solubility of hydrocarbons and renders them more accessible for biodegradation.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: The biodegradation potential of the Halomonas sp. strain C2SS100 gives it an advantage for possibly application on bioremediation of water, hydrocarbon-contaminated sites under high-salinity level.

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