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Effect of acid activated clay minerals on biodegradation of crude oil hydrocarbons

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


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The role of acid activated clays and unmodified clays in hydrocarbon removal during biodegradation was investigated in aqueous clay/oil microcosm experiments with a hydrocarbon degrading microorganism community. The clay minerals used for this study were Na-montmorillonite, palygorskite, saponite and kaolinite. The clay mineral samples were treated with hydrochloric acid to produce acid activated clays which were used in this study. The study indicated that acid activated clays and untreated kaolinite were inhibitory to biodegradation of the hydrocarbons via different mechanisms whereas the untreated saponite was neutral to biodegradation of the hydrocarbons. However, untreated palygorskite and Na-montmorillonite were stimulatory to biodegradation and appears to do so as a result of the clays' ability to provide high surface area for the accumulation of microbes and nutrients such that the nutrients are within the 'vicinity' of the microbes. Adsorption of hydrocarbons was significant during biodegradation especially with unmodified palygorskite, where there was more than 40% removal of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) by adsorption in the experimental microcosm containing 5:1 ratio (w/w) of clay to oil. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

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

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation

Year: 2014

Volume: 88

Pages: 185-191

Print publication date: 15/11/2013

ISSN (print): 0964-8305

ISSN (electronic): 1879-0208

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.ibiod.2013.10.018


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