Bioremediation of Sludge Obtained from Oil/Biofuel Storage Tanks

Esmaeil Shahsavari, Eric Adetutu, Andrew S. Ball

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution


Crude oil refinery leads to the production of a considerable amount of oil tank bottom sludge which can contaminate the environment and is toxic to human and environmental health. Among the methods available for cleaning up sludge-contaminated environments is bioremediation, which is a widely acceptable method for the remediation of different hydrocarbon-contaminated soils. This method is based on using microbes, mainly bacteria and fungi to degrade or remove the contaminants. Bioremediation technology can be applied to soil contaminated with oil tank bottom sludge using natural attenuation, biostimulation (addition of nutrients to enhance indigenous microbial activities), and bioaugmentation (addition of hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms to contaminated soils) or a combination of both biostimulation and bioaugmentation strategies. In addition to the type of the bioremediation methods applied, isolation and identification of microorganisms involved in the biodegradation process and the monitoring of their activities are important steps for any successful bioremediation project. In this chapter, simple and effective protocols are provided on how to isolate, screen, and identify hydrocarbon degrading-bacteria from oil sludge or sludge–soil complexes. In addition, two laboratory-scale methods for bioremediation of oil sludge and sludge-contaminated soil (microcosms and slurry phase) together with protocols for determining the concentration of hydrocarbon contaminants in soils are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology Protocols
PublisherHumana Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-662-45179-3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

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