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Biodegradation and adsorption of crude oil hydrocarbons supported on "homoionic" montmorillonite clay minerals

Lookup NU author(s): Uzochukwu Ugochukwu Ugochukwu, Professor Ian Head, Professor David ManningORCiD, Dr Claire Fialips


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The role of "homoionic" montmorillonites in hydrocarbon removal during biodegradation was investigated in aqueous clay/oil microcosm experiments with a hydrocarbon degrading microorganism community. The clay mineral used for this study was montmorillonite which was treated with the corresponding metal chloride salt to produce Na-, K-, Mg-, Ca-, Zn-, Al-, Cr-, and Fe-montmorillonites used in this study. The study indicated that Zn- and K-montmorillonites were inhibitory to biodegradation of the crude oil hydrocarbons and appears to do so as a result of extensive adsorption of the hydrocarbons. However, Na-, Ca- and Fe-montmorillonites with relatively high surface area and cation exchange capacity (CEC) were stimulatory to biodegradation of the crude oil hydrocarbons. This study reveals that whereas surface area and the 'local bridging effect' were important factors from the clay minerals that conferred stimulatory effect on the biodegradation of the hydrocarbons, the hydrolysis of the interlayer water by trivalent cations of the clay to generate protons and increase acidity of the medium is suggested to be inhibitory to biodegradation of the crude oil hydrocarbons. The interlayer cations (trivalent cations) that impart the highest local bridging effect which is stimulatory to biodegradation also impart the highest hydrolysis of interlayer water which is inhibitory. This study showed that interlayer cations play a crucial role on the ability of the clay mineral to influence biodegradation of the hydrocarbons. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ugochukwu UC, Jones MD, Head IM, Manning DAC, Fialips CI

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Clay Science

Year: 2014

Volume: 87

Pages: 81-86

Print publication date: 13/12/2013

ISSN (print): 0169-1317

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9053

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.clay.2013.11.022


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